California Governor Gavin Newsom decided to interfere in the decisions of a local school board on Thursday, announcing that his office will provide elementary school children with a social sciences textbook the publicly elected board members determined was inappropriate.
The Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Board of Education voted in May to pass on a curriculum the State Board of Education recommended for students in the first through fifth grades. Rejected as part of the lesson plan was a textbook that referred to gay-rights icon Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the Golden State, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
While many see Milk as an LGTBQ+ hero, others point to his relationship with Jack McKinley, a theatrical stage manager who was just 16 years old when Milk, then in his 30s, met him in New York in 1964 and call him a pedophile.
“I’ll ask you one simple question, governor, do you approve of any 33-year-old person, regardless of their gender identity or sexual preference, having a sexual relationship with any 16-year-old?” Board President Joseph Komrosky asked Governor Newsom at a town hall meeting in June.
“We are talking about an elementary school curriculum,” one speaker stated, according to ABC7. “I feel like parents are being dismissed when some people stand up and say, ‘I’m not comfortable with my kids talking about sex or gender ideology,’ or anything like that in an elementary school setting.”
The controversy escalated after the board voted to fire the district’s superintendent Jodi McClay and supporters of the textbook’s inclusion called for some of the members to be recalled.
(Video: ABC 7)
Not content to allow local communities to let their elected officials sort the scandal out, Newsom opted to override their authority and vowed to fine them for their “extremist” convictions.
“A school board in Temecula decided to reject a textbook because it mentioned Harvey Milk. CA is stepping in,” he tweeted on Thursday. “We’re going to purchase the book for these students—the same one that hundreds of thousands of kids are already using. If these extremist school board members won’t do their job, we will — and fine them for their incompetence.”
A school board in Temecula decided to reject a textbook because it mentioned Harvey Milk.
CA is stepping in.
We’re going to purchase the book for these students—the same one that hundreds of thousands of kids are already using.
If these extremist school board members won’t do… pic.twitter.com/r2iirL8b5v
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 13, 2023
In the accompanying video, Newsom says that, as “a father of four, with two young elementary school kids,” he wants to talk “to the parents in Temecula School District” — presumably including those who elected the school board to begin with.
Newsom assured them that, with school coming up in August, “we’re all worried about access to information, access to the latest social studies books that are being made available quite literally to hundreds of thousands of kids all throughout the state of California, but are being denied to the kids of the Temecula district.”
“That social studies book is being censored by the local school board,” he continued.
The governor claimed that “the last thing we need is more anxiety and more stacking stress.”
“So I want you to know that we’re moving forward, the state is moving forward and purchasing and procuring those social studies books,” he stated. “Your kids have the freedom to learn, and you have the freedom to access those books, the same books that hundreds of thousands of other kids throughout the state are accessing.”
What you don’t have the freedom or right to do, the governor clearly implies, is disagree with the state’s “recommendations” for your children or locally govern yourselves on matters that affect your community.
Do that, and Newsom will ensure you are properly punished.
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