California Governor Gavin Newsom said a school board president was on his radar for opposing an LGBT-centered curriculum.
The social studies curriculum in question mentioned former California politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the state, who was assassinated in 1978.
“My question is, why even mention a pedophile?” asked Temecula Valley School Board President Dr. Joseph Komrosky in an apparent reference to the former California politician’s alleged relationship with a 16-year old boy.
“In a 1982 biography of Milk, ‘The Mayor of Castro Street,’ the late journalist Randy Shilts describes a relationship he said Milk, then 33, had with a 16-year-old named John Galen McKinley,” per Press Enterprise.
“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue,” said Jennifer Wiersma, another school board member who also stood in opposition to the proposed instructional material. “I don’t want them going into gender ideology.”
The curriculum was rejected 3-2.
— LGBTQ Nation (@lgbtqnation) June 5, 2023
“We’ve never experienced this before. I’ve never heard of a top performing district or any district say you know what we are going to withhold these materials,” said president of the Temecula Valley Educators Association Edgar Diaz in a statement KABC.
Newsom referred to the vote in a Twitter post as an “offensive statement from an ignorant person.”
“This isn’t Texas or Florida. In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn,” he said.
Newsom instructed the board president to take heed: “Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention,” he wrote. “Stay tuned.”
An offensive statement from an ignorant person.
This isn’t Texas or Florida. In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn.
Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention. Stay tuned. https://t.co/4HHLm3q57r
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 3, 2023
Last Thursday, Newsom sent a letter to schools across California warning opposition to LGBTQ books and other instructional material could warrant investigation by the state attorney general Rob Bonta.
“As state leaders elected to represent the values of all Californians, we offer our response in one shared voice,” read the letter from Newsom, State Schools Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Bonta. “Access to books – including books that reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives of Californians, and especially, those that may challenge us to grapple with uncomfortable truths – is a profound freedom we all must protect and cultivate.”
The proposed curriculum was piloted among 1,300 students in the district last year.
“We pushed aside political views, examined materials thoroughly taking into account our students, their backgrounds and what our job is in the classroom to uphold the California social studies curriculum and framework,” said fifth grade teacher Donna Kronenfeld, who ran the pilot program. “This is something we went through with a fine-tooth comb.”
“We’re hoping that the community can come around and say that teachers and students need textbooks and that the trustees should do what they are elected to and provide educators the tools they need, and provide students the ability to have success,” she said of the rejected instruction.