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SoCal school district vetoes social studies curriculum over LGBTQ

The board signaled that they were opposed to any curriculum that included former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk

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Temecula Valley school board meeting May16, 2023. (Screenshot/YouTube Temecula Valley School District)

TEMECULA, Calif. – A contentious and at times acrimonious Temecula Valley Unified School District School Board meeting ended with the board vetoing the social studies curriculum proposed for the district’s elementary schools. At issue was pushback on LGBTQ+ issues by the three conservative members.

Board Member Jennifer Wiersma, is one of the three backed by the Inland Empire Family Pac, a far-right group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, transparent sexual education curriculum, and so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ although that material is not taught in K-12 schools anywhere in the United States.

During the discussion, Wiersma told other board members and the audience: “I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue. I don’t want them going into gender ideology.” Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Milk along with LGBTQ+ ally, George Moscone, the 37th mayor of San Francisco, were assassinated by a homophobic former San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White in their offices at city hall on November 27, 1978.

“My question is, why even mention a pedophile?” asked Komrosky, referring to Milk.

That prompted the following tweet from Governor Newsom:

Curriculum that deals with LGBTQ+ history is mandated under California’s FAIR Education Act, which was signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on January 1, 2012. It amends the California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community in history and social studies curriculum.

Voting against the proposed elementary school social studies curriculum due to its inclusion of Milk will leave 11,397 students without a social studies textbook for the next academic school year.

The frustration was evident in the testy public comments, many taking aim at the conservatives on the board. In a video of the meeting, one audience member can be heard shouting “You’re not qualified! You’re not qualified!’ at the board.

In a statement, Edgar Diaz, the president of the Temecula Valley Educator Association said:

“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.”

The pilot social studies program, which included material approved by the California Department of Education, was approved by 47 Temecula Valley Unified Schools teachers who had taught the material in 18 elementary schools.

During the discussions, Board Member Allison Barclay, who voted to approve the new curriculum, told fellow members and the audience: “It was piloted, we followed every policy, and procedures. The options were out there for parents. Thirteen-hundred family’s kids learned from this curriculum. We did not receive any complaints.”

The California Education Code has been updated over time to ensure that the contributions of members of underrepresented racial, ethnic and cultural groups to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States are included in history and social studies lessons.

To this end, California Education Code’s Social Content statute requires that instructional materials:

  • Portray accurately and equitably the cultural and racial diversity of American society
  • Demonstrate the contribution of minority groups and males and females to the development of California and the U.S.
  • Emphasize people in varied, positive, and contributing roles in order to influence students’ school experiences constructively
  • Not contain inappropriate references to commercial brand names, products, and corporate or company logos

The three member conservative majority also alleged that district parents lacked having had sufficient opportunities for input into the new curriculum. In the mission credo of the Inland Empire Family PAC, it states the group was created to ensure parents are the final decision maker in the education of their children, not the Government.

School Board Member Steven Schwartz, who joined fellow board member Barclay said: “Parents didn’t respond. Whose fault is it that parents didn’t respond? It’s their fault. Not our fault and not the teacher’s fault.”

The Temecula Valley Unified School District released the following statement:

“The district is currently extending the window for viewing and feedback on textbook materials that were piloted and recommended by our teachers. We will continue to gather additional community and parent feedback for the board.

At this time, we are not looking at changes with the publisher since TCI is a CDE approved curriculum that complies with the FAIR Act. TCI is also our approved Social Studies textbook at the middle school level.

We are working with TCI and our pilot teachers to provide additional parent/community nights to share the materials again and provide an opportunity for additional questions. We want to ensure that parents and community members have as much information as possible and are able to provide even more feedback.

We are also working with the Riverside County Office of Education and CDE to explore next steps if the curriculum is not adopted. Our goal is to ensure we are compliant with the Williams Act and ensure the high quality instruction for students in TVUSD continues.”

A spokesperson for the Temecula Valley Educator Association said that there will be rallies On June 6 and June 13 to support the the new social studies curriculum.

Requests for comment from Dr. Joseph Komrosky, Temecula Valley Unified School District School Board’s president went unanswered.

May 16, 2023, 6:00 PM – Open Session – TVUSD Governing Board Meeting:

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Riverside County

Temecula school district bans all flags other than U.S. & state flags

“We’re seeing BLM flags, Pride flags- we’re not anti-LGBTQ, we’re not anti-anything but a classroom is not a place for political beliefs”

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Screenshot/YouTube KCAL CBS Los Angeles

TEMECULA, Calif. – The Temecula Valley Unified School District passed a controversial new policy that bans all flags except for the U.S. National Standard and the California State flags on any TVUSD properties including in classrooms.

While the policy passed last night in a 3-2 vote doesn’t specifically list unapproved flags, there has been tense discussions over display of the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag and the Black Lives Matters flag which drew the ire of conservative parents and three of the board members including board member Jennifer Wiersma, one of the three who is backed by the Inland Empire Family Pac, a far-right group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, Board President Dr. Joseph Komrosky, who had publicly referred to LGBTQ+ civil rights advocate Harvey Milk as a pedophile, and Danny Gonzalez who is also opposed to LGBTQ+ equality rights.

The policy’s text says in part:

“No flag other than the United States of America and state of California may be displayed on school grounds, including classrooms, unless it is a country, state or United States military flag used solely for educational purposes within the adopted curriculum. Any other flag must be approved by the Superintendent or designee prior to displaying if, and only if, it is used for educational purposes and only during the related instructional period.”

Komrosky had placed the item dealing with flags and display on Tuesday’s agenda. There was a large crowd gathered for the board session and upon the final vote those in favour of the policy stood and applauded loudly.

Tensions flared at times in the large showing of parents, teachers, students and community members in the audience.

KTLA 5 who had a reporter present noted:

“This rainbow flag is infiltrating every corner of education and we need to talk about that,” a supporter of the policy said.

No text in the policy specifically mentions Pride flags on school campuses, however, members of the LGBTQ+ community believe the ban is being aimed at preventing Pride flags from being flown.

“Taking down a Pride flag is telling people they’re not wanted,” said a policy opposer.

Audience members who supported the policy told KTLA they believed Pride flags, or any other types of flags, should not be flown on school campuses.

“We’re seeing a lot of activism in the classrooms,” said Milana Cubana, a supporter of the flag policy. “We’re seeing BLM flags, Pride flags, trans flags and we’re not anti-LGBTQ, we’re not anti-anything but a classroom is not a place for your personal political beliefs.”

Opposers, however, are concerned over issues of censorship and lack of inclusivity in the classroom curriculum.

“When my children and I see LGBTQ flags and Pride flags, we all know that we’re going to be accepted there,” said, Ashley Williamson, who opposes the policy. “We know that we’re not going to be berated for what we believe in or how we look or how we act or the people who we are in relationships with.”

“It’s officially Transgender History Month in August,” said Love Bailey, a critic of the policy. “How will you teach that to the kids unless you display a trans flag? How, unless we embrace diversity, are we going to give our kids a good education moving forward?”

The Temecula Valley Unified School District has been at the center of the clash in Southern California between LGBTQ+ supporters in school districts and those opposed to LGBTQ+ rights.

In July the board voted to reject inclusion of a book and curriculum that included mention of slain former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and LGBTQ+ topics as required by state law. The board voted 3-2 to dismiss the state’s mandated textbooks and continue on with instructional materials that are nearly two decades old.

During discussions around the issue at the time Wiersma argued:

“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue. I don’t want them going into gender ideology.” Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “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.”

After Newsom indicated the state would step in and also fine the district the board rescinded its earlier vote and moved forward to purchase the text books and accompanying instructional materials.

Then on August 22, 2023, the Board voted to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy. The enacted policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records.

A similar mandatory gender identity disclosure policy in neighboring Chino enacted by the Chino Valley Unified School District is now being challenged in San Bernadino Superior Court by California Attorney General Rob Bonta

Additional reporting from KTLA 5

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Riverside County

Temecula school district’s forced outing policy detrimental says AG

“The rise in school districts adopting policies that target California’s vulnerable LGBTQ+ student population is of grave concern” 

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California's Attorney General Rob Bonta listens intently to a teen member of the LGBTQ+ community during the launch of the first of a new series of youth community conversations with young leaders to foster civic engagement. (Photo Credit: Office of the California Attorney General)

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statement Wednesday following Temecula Valley Unified School District Board’s decision to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy that is detrimental to the well-being of LGBTQ+ students on August 22, 2023.

The enacted policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records.

The vote comes just weeks after Attorney General Bonta issued a statement denouncing Murrieta Valley Unified’s decision to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy targeting transgender and gender nonconforming students.

In June, Bonta and Governor Gavin Newsom issued a joint statement urging the Board to provide information regarding its decision to reject the Social Studies Alive curriculum for grades 1 through 5, which highlights the contributions of various groups, including gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. 

“The rise in school districts adopting policies that target California’s vulnerable LGBTQ+ student population is of grave concern,” said Bonta. “My office is closely monitoring the situation and will not tolerate districts compromising the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students. We will remain committed to ensuring school policies do not violate students’ civil rights.”

Research shows that protecting a transgender student’s ability to make choices about how and when to inform others is critical to their well-being, as transgender students are exposed to high levels of harassment and mistreatment at school and in their communities.

Seventy-seven percent of students known or perceived as transgender reported negative experiences such as harassment and assault, and over half of transgender and nonbinary youth reported seriously considering suicide in the past year.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Bonta announced opening a civil rights investigation into potential legal violations by Chino Valley Unified School District’s adoption of its mandatory gender identity disclosure policy.

Prior to opening the investigation, Bonta in July sent a letter to Superintendent Norman Enfield and the Board of Education cautioning them of the dangers of adopting its forced outing policy, emphasizing the potential infringements on students’ privacy rights and educational opportunities. 

AUG-22-2023 6:00 PM ◇ Regular Meeting ◇ Open Session ◇ TVUSD Governing Board:

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Riverside County

Riverside school district enacts Outing policy for trans kids

The MVUSD board vote was 3-2 adopting the policy, which is nearly identical to CVUSD’s policy now under investigation by the Attorney General

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Murrieta school district OKs new transgender policy. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

MURRIETA, Calif. – The Murrieta Valley Unified School District Board (MVUSD), Thursday night approved a policy mirroring one recently adopted by the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), that forces school faculty and staff to “out” students to parents whose gender identities may be changing.

The MVUSD board vote was 3-2 adopting the policy, which the language of is nearly identical to CVUSD’s policy, that is now under investigation by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. The Attorney General announced last week that he opened a civil rights investigation into potential legal violations by CVUSD that he noted that proposed Parental Notification policy, likely has potential infringements on students’ privacy rights and educational opportunities.

The board in approving the policy delayed implementation until the administrative guidelines are written.

The local newspaper, the Press Enterprise, reported that the board room — which holds about 147 people — was full well before the open session of the meeting began at 5 p.m. An overflow crowd was in the entryway. About a dozen law enforcement officers stood by. It took hours to get a vote, which came about 10:30 p.m.

Board member Nancy Young, who defeated a candidate backed by a conservative PAC in the November election, said Wednesday, Aug. 9, that she is “adamantly opposed” to the potential policy.

“Its illegal,” she said. “It’s a violation of Ed Code and state law and discriminates.”

Young cited the risk of lawsuits or a civil rights investigation by the state, as well as the stress the policy would cause to transgender students, who she said have “a suicide rate that is four times the suicide rate” of other students.

“Educating children works best with engaged parents and caring teachers working together to create a safe space for all children to learn,” said former teacher and Our Schools USA co-founder Kristi Hirst to the Blade. “This policy breaks down trust between our most vulnerable students and their teachers. Murrieta following the lead of Chino Valley – with copies of Chino Valley’s illegal resolution in hand – makes it clear that attacking LGBTQ students for political gain is part of a larger inorganic movement that Our Schools USA is fighting against.”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta in an emailed statement to the Blade said: “I am deeply disturbed to learn another school district has put at risk the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students by adopting a forced outing policy. My office remains committed to ensuring school policies do not target or seek to discriminate against California’s most vulnerable communities. California will not stand for violations of our students’ civil rights.”

Stephanie Young, a Murrieta resident and district teacher, attended the meeting the Press Enterprise noted, to oppose the potential policy and support transgender students. Young has a 17-year-old son who is trans.

“There’s gonna be kids who feel like nobody cares,” she said.

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Temecula school board backs off, adopts new curriculum & book

Attorney General Bonta & Gov. Newsom announced an inquiry into the district by the state Dept of Justice related to civil rights violations

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The oft times contentious, acrimonious and emotional public comments as both sides presented arguments in favor or against California’s new elementary level social studies book and curriculum during a special session of the Temecula Valley Unified School District's school board. (Screenshot/YouTube)

TEMECULA, Calif. – In a Friday special session, after oft times contentious, acrimonious and emotional public comments as both sides presented arguments in favor or against California’s new elementary level social studies book and curriculum previously rejected twice, the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s board relented and voted unanimously to adopt it.

At numerous points during public comments, School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky threatened to clear the room, warning the audience that they were trying his patience.

The new social studies book in question is called, “Social Studies Alive!” and complies with 2011 state laws requiring that students get instruction about “the role and contributions of people with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans; and other ethnic and cultural groups.”

Curriculum that deals with LGBTQ+ history is mandated under California’s FAIR Education Act, which was signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on January 1, 2012. It amends the California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community in history and social studies curriculum.

The cover of the book “Social Studies Alive!” rejected by the school board. (Screenshot/KTLA)

The school board had met for more than 5 hours this past Tuesday, hearing from parents, teachers, and even people outside the Temecula area regarding the state’s mandatory curriculum standards for elementary school kids. Three conservative members of the board have publicly denounced the book and the accompanying curriculum.

On Tuesday, the board voted 3-2 to dismiss the state’s mandated textbooks and continue on with instructional materials that are nearly two decades old.

That prompted a response from Governor Gavin Newsom, following the School Board’s failure to adopt the updated social studies curriculum, to announce the state is entering into a contract to secure textbooks to ensure students in the district begin the school year with access to up-to-date books and materials that comply with state law.

“The three political activists on the school board have yet again proven they are more interested in breaking the law than doing their jobs of educating students — so the state will do their job for them,” the governor said.

“California will ensure students in Temecula begin the school year with access to materials reviewed by parents and recommended by teachers across the district. After we deliver the textbooks into the hands of students and their parents, the state will deliver the bill — along with a $1.5 million fine — to the school board for its decision to willfully violate the law, subvert the will of parents, and force children to use an out-of-print textbook from 17 years ago,” Newsom said.

During the board meeting two months ago, Board Member Jennifer Wiersma, one of the three board members backed by the Inland Empire Family Pac, a far-right group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, transparent sexual education curriculum, and so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ although that material is not taught in K-12 schools anywhere in the United States argued:

“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue. I don’t want them going into gender ideology.” Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

In the May 16 board meeting, School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “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.”

Late Friday night after the board’s vote to adopt the book and curriculum, Governor Newsom reacted in a statement:

“Fortunately, now students will receive the basic materials needed to learn.  But this vote lays bare the true motives of those who opposed this curriculum. This has never been about parents’ rights. It’s not even about Harvey Milk – who appears nowhere in the textbook students receive. This is about extremists’ desire to control information and censor the materials used to teach our children.

“Demagogues who whitewash history, censor books, and perpetuate prejudice never succeed. Hate doesn’t belong in our classrooms and because of the board majority’s antics, Temecula has a civil rights investigation to answer for.”  

The Temecula Valley Unified School District board majority’s actions are being investigated by the California Department of Education. On June 7, 2023, Attorney General Bonta and Governor Newsom announced an inquiry into the district by the California Department of Justice related to civil rights violations.

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JUL-21-2023 7:30 PM ◇ Special Meeting ◇ TVUSD Governing Board:

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Newsom says state will secure textbooks for students in Temecula

Last week, the Governor and state leaders demanded the school district follow the law and adopt an updated curriculum

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Governor Gavin Newsom discusses new programs to assist at risk students in California's public schools. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Following the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s failure to adopt an updated social studies curriculum, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state is entering into a contract to secure textbooks to ensure students in the district begin the school year with access to up-to-date books and materials that comply with state law.

Elementary students in Temecula are slated to begin the school year on August 14, 2023, without proper instructional materials – in violation of state law – because of the school board’s 3-2 majority’s repeated decision to reject an updated curriculum.

 “The three political activists on the school board have yet again proven they are more interested in breaking the law than doing their jobs of educating students — so the state will do their job for them,” said Newsom.

“California will ensure students in Temecula begin the school year with access to materials reviewed by parents and recommended by teachers across the district. After we deliver the textbooks into the hands of students and their parents, the state will deliver the bill — along with a $1.5 million fine — to the school board for its decision to willfully violate the law, subvert the will of parents, and force children to use an out-of-print textbook from 17 years ago.”

During the board meeting two months ago, Board Member Jennifer Wiersma, one of the three who is backed by the Inland Empire Family Pac, a far-right group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, transparent sexual education curriculum, and so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ although that material is not taught in K-12 schools anywhere in the United States argued:

“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue. I don’t want them going into gender ideology.” Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “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.”

Due to the board majority’s inaction, students in the district are forced to use a textbook published in 2006. According to the district’s own documents published online, the district is out of compliance with at least three separate state laws and frameworks with its current curriculum.

Last week, the Governor and state leaders demanded the school district follow the law and adopt an updated curriculum. Yesterday, July 18, 2023, the school board again voted by a 3-2 majority to reject the adoption of a new social studies curriculum that was recommended by teachers representing every elementary school in the district and reviewed by parents and community members.

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Riverside County

Temecula school board rejects new social studies book

“If the school board won’t do its job to ensure kids start the school year with basic materials, the state will,” said Governor Newsom

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A social studies book designed for elementary students was rejected because it contained materials dealing with former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

TEMECULA, Calif. – A contentious and at times acrimonious Temecula Valley Unified School District School Board meeting ended with the board voting to reject inclusion of a book that included mention of slain former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and LGBTQ+ topics.

The school board met for more than 5 hours on Tuesday hearing from parents, teachers, and even people outside the Temecula area regarding the state’s mandatory curriculum standards for elementary school kids. Three conservative members of the board have publicly denounced the book and the accompanying curriculum.

The board voted 3-2 to dismiss the state’s mandated textbooks and continue on with instructional materials that are nearly two decades old.

During the board meeting two months ago, Board Member Jennifer Wiersma, one of the three who is backed by the Inland Empire Family Pac, a far-right group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, transparent sexual education curriculum, and so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ although that material is not taught in K-12 schools anywhere in the United States argued:

“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue. I don’t want them going into gender ideology.” Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “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.”

The cover of the book “Social Studies Alive!” rejected by the school board. (Screenshot/KTLA)

During the public comments session prior to the board’s final vote, one supporter who followed a speaker that labeled both the book and curriculum as “evil” told the board:

“Since you have taken office. You have attempted to divide our community by portraying a false narrative of teachers sexualizing students and pornography in classrooms. As parents with kids in the district, I know this is simply not true.” 

Curriculum that deals with LGBTQ+ history is mandated under California’s FAIR Education Act, which was signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on January 1, 2012. It amends the California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community in history and social studies curriculum.

Last week, Governor Newsom, joined by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, and Assemblymember Dr. Corey Jackson announced the State of California will begin the process of securing textbooks for students in the Temecula Valley Unified School District and enact legislation to fine school districts for failure to provide adequate instructional materials.

“Cancel culture has gone too far in Temecula: radicalized zealots on the school board rejected a textbook used by hundreds of thousands of students and now children will begin the school year without the tools they need to learn,” said Newsom. “If the school board won’t do its job by its next board meeting to ensure kids start the school year with basic materials, the state will deliver the book into the hands of children and their parents — and we’ll send the district the bill and fine them for violating state law.” 

“I am glad to join in this action with Governor Newsom today and thank him for his leadership in calling for Temecula’s school board to reverse course to prevent further harm to students,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “Inclusive education promotes the academic achievement and social development of our students.  School Districts should not ban books in California, especially as it harms students of color and LGBTQ+ youth.  AB1078 lays out the structure for today’s action and I am proud to have sponsored this bill to protect our students from the harmful effects of book banning, exclusion of inclusive textbooks and discrimination.” 

Speaking with reporters after last night’s board session and vote, board president Komrosky said if the governor sends the books, he will send them right back.

From KTLA- Temecula rejects controversial new social studies book:

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Temecula city councilmember walks out over Pride proclamation

Alexander equating being LGBTQ+ with being a danger to the community, particularly young people and morally reprehensible

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City Councilmember Jessica Alexander during her anti-LGBTQ remarks. (Screenshot/YouTube City of Temecula, California)

TEMECULA, Calif. – After delivering a six minute diatribe with a slide show presentation to shore up her complaints against the LGBTQ+ community in advance of the city’s Pride proclamation by Temecula Mayor Zak Schwank, City Councilmember Jessica Alexander got up and walked off the dais.

During her speech, Alexander kept demanding to know what the ‘plus’ in LGBTQ+ stood for then answered her own questions claiming, by use of a slide show with various LGBTQ+ flags and their definitions that the plus was strictly to acknowledge ‘sexual deviant behaviours.’

Addressing the proclamation she warned that she would walk out and then said:

“Where is your moral and ethical line for each one of you as a city council member?”

“If you don’t oppose this proclamation being given to minors, we are celebrating and encouraging sexual activity and giving them (a) sexual credit card with no limit,” Alexander said. “You are encouraging them to expose them to all sexual possibilities and exposing them to predators.”

The Press-Enterprise reported:

Saying such proclamations were divisive, the council voted 3-2 in January to stop issuing citywide proclamations recognizing months such as Black History Month that celebrate cultural diversity, women’s history or the LGBTQ community.

Instead, those proclamations were left to the 2-year-old diversity commission, which took up the Pride Month proclamation at its June 7 meeting. Copies of the proclamation were given to LGBTQ clubs from the city’s high schools

Prior to that, in June of 2022 Alexander opposed a similar Pride proclamation, she espoused views that are considered homophobic and she referred to “sexual lifestyle” and “sexual preference” repeatedly. Then claiming her allegiance as a Christian she insisted she could not in “good faith” support the proclamation she deemed harmful and wrong.

She has also targeted the local Drag Queen shows and a Drag Queen Story Hour labeling them as “grooming” and has previously made references to LGBTQ+ people as pedophiles.

At this council meeting, Alexander said there are more than 50 LGBTQ flags representing “different identities, sexual attractions and most concerning sexual behaviors … Why is this city supporting children 17 and under to become involved in over 50 groups that fall under the LGBTQ+ flag?”  She then claimed that a newly passed Connecticut bill creates a special ‘protected class’ for pedophiles.

However, the Associated Press fact-checked this claim, and found it to be patently false. What the bill does is update the state’s definition of sexual orientation in its statewide non-discrimination ordinance, and adds age as a protected class to said ordinance.

Screenshot/YouTube City of Temecula, California

Jorge Reyes Salinas, a spokesperson for Equality California, in an emailed statement said:

“In a year where we have seen seemingly unceasing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, Temecula City Councilmember Jessica Alexander’s comments at the June 13 council meeting continued to add fuel to the fire of anti-LGBTQ+ hatred and trafficked in long-tired tropes and outright misinformation.

Alexander’s comments about Pride flags are extremely and dangerously inaccurate.In saying that supporting the city’s Pride proclamation would ‘celebrate and encourage sexual activity’ and ‘expose [children] to predators,’ Alexander elevated dangerous rhetoric linking LGBTQ+ people to sexual predation, a long-used tactic by members of the far-right to discredit, stigmatize, and place in harm’s way the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

Alexander took a page out of the anti-LGBTQ+ extremist playbook by equating being LGBTQ+ with being a danger to the community, particularly young people. These offensive tropes have been thoroughly and completely debunked and it is shameful to hear them coming from an elected official in 2023.”

Mayor Schwank, responding to a press request for comment in an email wrote:

“He’s been reading “every proclamation that has been presented at (the commission) … so this isn’t something new. I find that there is value to the community to also acknowledge the proclamations during” a portion of the meeting reserved for councilmembers’ comments.

He added: “It’s disappointing to see one of our council member representatives refusing to recognize a valued and important group within our community, because I think it’s antithetical to our purpose here on the City Council.”

“More than anything else, behavior like that from the dais continues to divide this community in ways that are not conducive towards building a better Temecula.”

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Temecula City Council Meeting – June 13, 2023: (Alexander’s remarks start at 40:10)

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Riverside County

Book ban gets beloved superintendent fired by school board

Dr. Joseph Komrosky, the board’s president referred to Milk as a pedophile. That remark drawing the ire of Gov. Newsom

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Temecula Valley Unified School District Superintendent Jodi McClay was fired Tuesday.(Screenshot/YouTube KCAL CBS 2)

TEMECULA – The Temecula Valley Unified School District board meeting Tuesday erupted in anger, accusations and shouting when it was announced that the board had fired district’s beloved superintendent Jodi McClay in a closed door session held just prior to the public meeting.

This coming barely a month after the board vetoing the social studies curriculum for TVUSD elementary schools after the three conservative members voiced their opposition to any mention of LGBTQ+ people, highlighting mention of former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor and human rights activist Harvey Milk.

Dr. Joseph Komrosky, the board’s president during the open May meeting referred to Milk as a pedophile. That remark drawing the ire of Governor Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “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.” Hundreds of the district’s teachers continue to protest the board’s decision to block the curriculum.

“In 4th grade, we’re required by law, by state ed code, to teach the California state standards, and those standards include Civil Rights legislation for all people, and so there’s a brief mention of somebody who fought for those Civil Rights and that’s what they’re upset about” said Carolyn Thomas, a third grade teacher at Rancho Elementary School.

The decision to not include Milk in the curriculum now puts the district in potential violation of California’s Williams Educational Act, which requires all students to have equal access to proper instructional materials.

KABC7 noted that some parents who spoke at Tuesday’s board meeting expressed their support for the board’s decision. “We are talking about an elementary school curriculum,” said one speaker. “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.”

Others took exception at the board’s actions. “We get upset when people call people Nazis,” said Andrew Enriquez, a Technician at Temecula Valley Unified School District. “It is the same thing when somebody chooses to call somebody a groomer and to hear it used in our community is disrespectful to the men and women and family that work for this organization.”

Curriculum that deals with LGBTQ+ history is mandated under California’s FAIR Education Act, which was signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on January 1, 2012. It amends the California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community in history and social studies curriculum.

Superintendent fired by Temecula school board:

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Riverside County

State civil rights investigation into Riverside County Sheriff’s Office

Investigators will try to determine whether the Sheriff’s Office has shown a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing

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Riverside County Sheriff's Department/Facebook

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced opening a civil rights investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO). The investigation will seek to determine whether RCSO has engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing amid deeply concerning allegations relating to conditions of confinement in its jail facilities, excessive force, and other misconduct.

“All Californians deserve fairness and respect from the institutions that serve them,” said Bonta. “When some communities don’t see or feel they are being treated equitably by law enforcement, it contributes to distrust and hurts public safety. Unfortunately, it is clear that — amid concerning levels of in-custody deaths and allegations of misconduct — too many families and communities in Riverside County are hurting and looking for answers. As part of my office’s ongoing efforts to support constitutional policing, the California Department of Justice is opening a civil rights investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office. Whether you have a loved one in jail or are worried about crime in your neighborhood, we all benefit when there is action to ensure the integrity of policing in our state.”

Under the California Constitution and California Civil Code section 52.3, the Attorney General is authorized to conduct civil investigations into whether a law enforcement agency has engaged in a pattern or practice of violating state or federal law.

As opposed to a criminal investigation into an individual incident or incidents, a pattern or practice investigation typically works to identify and, as appropriate, compel the correction of systemic violations of the constitutional rights of the community at large by a law enforcement agency.

With regard to RCSO, the Attorney General has made no determinations at this time about specific complaints, allegations, or the agency’s overall policies and practices.

As interaction and cooperation with the community is at the core of law enforcement’s work to provide public safety and create public trust, the Attorney General encourages anyone with information relevant to this investigation to contact the California Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section at [email protected].

Members of the public may also send information to the California Department of Justice in other languages. During the course of the investigation, attorneys and special agents at the California Department of Justice will work diligently to consider all relevant information, including from community members and organizations, local officials, oversight entities, RCSO, and individual deputies.

Attorney General Bonta is committed to strengthening trust between local law enforcement and the communities they serve as one key part of the broader effort to increase public safety for all Californians.

Last year, the Attorney General assumed responsibility for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation related to contracts awarded to a local nonprofit. He worked with authorities in San Francisco to help ensure the continuation of local oversight efforts related to officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths, and severe uses of force.

Bonta also opened a pattern or practice investigation into the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2021, the Attorney General launched an independent review of the Torrance Police Department and secured a stipulated judgment against the Bakersfield Police Department requiring an extensive range of actions to promote public safety.

State investigators will try to determine whether the Sheriff’s Office has shown a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing. The attorney general’s office has been conducting a similar investigation of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department since January 2021.

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Riverside County

Anti-LGBTQ Temecula Councilmember proposes abortion ban

Alexander has repeatedly railed against LGBTQ+ rights, abortion choice, and during the coronavirus pandemic labeled it the ‘China Virus’

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Screenshot/YouTube

TEMECULA, Ca. – A City Councilmember who opposed a June 2022 Pride month proclamation and has derided LGBTQ+ people as pedophiles and “groomers” introduced a resolution this week to attempt to ban abortions in the city during the Tuesday city council meeting.

“I know there are some who would question whether protecting our unborn is a state matter or a city issue,” said city councilperson Jessica Alexander. “This is our city, and what happens in our city is our responsibility.”

She is sponsoring a resolution that would make Temecula a “sanctuary for the unborn.”

“Are we willing to stand up and fight for every resident including the unborn babies who are voiceless? Let us be the first city in California to make a stand. Let’s mark our city as a sanctuary city for Temecula’s unborn.”

“I implore you to vote to advance this discussion in order to create a resolution to be a sanctuary city for protecting Temecula’s unborn,” Alexander told council members. “Let Temecula be known as a safe haven, not as an abortion sanctuary. Let the world know that Temecula stands for life from womb to tomb.”

Alexander’s proposal would run up against California law which provides for women’s reproductive rights.

The Press-Enterprise reported in her remarks on the dais, Alexander opposed Assembly Bill 1666 — which protects out-of-state abortion seekers from laws in other states that punish them for seeking abortion care beyond state lines, turning California into a “sanctuary state.” The bill was signed into law in June by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has vowed repeatedly to protect abortion rights in California.

Alexander also opposed the pending Assembly Bill 2223, the “infanticide bill” that would disallow investigations into causes of death for lost pregnancies and newborns in the state.

“Just because something is a law, does not make it right,” Alexander told her council colleagues. “I know there are some who would question whether protecting our unborn is a state matter, or a city issue. This is our city, and what happens in our city is our responsibility. A precedent has already been set here on our dais to take back local control.”

The Press-Enterprise also noted that during the meeting, many pro-life speakers voiced concerns, including volunteers at Temecula’s Birth Choice Center — where Alexander is the center director, according to the city’s website.

The Birth Choice non-profit organization, which has locations in Temecula, Hemet and Palm Desert, serves pregnant women and urges mothers to avoid abortion.

Alexander has repeatedly railed against LGBTQ+ rights, abortion choice, and took a hard line during the coronavirus pandemic labeling it the ‘China Virus’ a term coined by former president Trump as well as defying COVID-19 restrictions by refusing to wear a mask comparing her refusal as contextually the same as civil rights icon Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat on a bus which touched off a movement for Black Americans.

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