Calif. Education Association Sues School Board For Banning CRT

Emma Campbell | August 3, 2023
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A school board in California is facing a lawsuit over its decision to ban Critical Race Theory (CRT) curriculum in classrooms.

On Wednesday, the California Education Association (CEA), along with parents and students, filed a lawsuit against the Temecula Valley Unified School Board, claiming that the ban is unconstitutional. The lawsuit alleges that restrictions on race-based teaching “stifle student inquiry” and offers “only one side of historical events” to students.

“Temecula students are deprived of the opportunity to engage in factual investigation, freely discuss ideas, and develop critical thinking and reasoning skills,” the lawsuit claims. “While harming all schoolchildren, the Resolution in particular injures children of color and LGBTQ children, stigmatizing their identities, histories, and cultures.”

The school board voted 3-2 in December of last year to ban educators from teaching CRT, the same night that three newly-elected board members were sworn in. The three new board members were endorsed by Parent Revolt and Inland Empire Family PAC—two “pro-parent” groups aiming to bring parents into elected positions. Pastor Tim Thompson, founder of Inland Empire Family PAC expressed his support for the resolution to ban CRT when it was passed last year.

“They did what they told people they would do,” Thompson told the Daily Caller News Foundation at the time. “This is just the beginning. I believe that the Temecula School Board is going to be a beacon of light to the rest of the state and the rest of the nation. If it can be done in Temecula. It can be done anywhere. If it can be done in California, you can do it anywhere.”

The adopted provision allows the school board to require educators to use only a curriculum that has been approved by the board. The board also passed a resolution condemning racism, and threatening punishment for racist conduct.

Race has been a prevalent issue in education recently, as parents, educators, and governments debate how race-based topics, especially in history, should be handled in the classroom. CRT teaches that America is fundamentally racist and that “antiracism” can be achieved through a reconstruction of perspective that views every social interaction in terms of race.

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The plaintiffs in the case are being represented by Public Counsel, a nonprofit law firm based in California that focuses on “advancing civil rights and racial and economic justice,” according to its website. Mark Rosenbaum, Director of Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project said in a press release that the current policy of the school board counters the goal of the public school system “to open the minds and hearts of students.”

“The Temecula school board resolution that is the subject of this lawsuit seeks to subvert this ideal by stifling teachers from promoting these values and instead imposing an ideology that introduces insidious racial and gender stereotypes into the classroom. If permitted to stand, the resolution will replace education with indoctrination, open-mindedness with bigotry, truth with falsehoods,” Rosenbaum said.

The school board made headlines in June when it came under investigation for rejecting an elementary school curriculum that talked about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. The investigation, led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration, resulted in a $1.5 million fine for the school district and the board eventually moved to adopt the curriculum.