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Judge Gives Nod to CRT Restrictions and Parental Notification Policy in CA School District

Last week, a California state judge gave initial approval to a Temecula school district’s ban on teaching specific aspects of Critical Race Theory (CRT). He also refused to halt a parent notification policy State Attorney General Rob Bonta and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond both called illegal.  Over the past year, Temecula’s school board, along with nine other California school boards, passed policies requiring school officials to notify parents if their children request to be identified by a gender different from the one on their official records.

Several parents, students, and educators filed a lawsuit against Temecula Valley Unified School District’s CRT and parent notification policies, requesting a preliminary injunction to stop their implementation. Riverside Superior Court Judge Eric Keen refuted the plaintiffs’ argument that the school board’s ban on curriculum content related to CRT was unclear and clarified that the policy distinctly outlaws particular components of the theory.

“The Resolution allows instruction in CRT, but specifically prohibits instruction on theories such as ‘only individuals classified as ‘white’ people can be racist because only ‘white’ people control society,’ or ‘racism is ordinary, the usual way society does business,’ or ‘an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist and/or sexist’ or finally, that ‘an individual is inherently morally or otherwise superior to another individual because of race or sex,’” the judge wrote. “Theories such as these (and others banned by the Resolution) which are precepts taught within Critical Race Theory would seem to lack any legitimate pedagogical concern and would not be reasonably related to legitimate educational concerns.” 

Keen also noted that the California Education Code states that “Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship…” and concluded that theories defined as CRT in the resolution are incompatible with this section of the code.  

Regarding the parental notification policy, Keen determined that it applies to all students, not just trans-identifying students. Consequently, the policy is not discriminatory. “Had the Policy required school staff to report to parents only when a transgender or gender nonconforming student made a request under sections 1(a)-(c), but not when a cisgender student made the request, then the Policy would be treating two groups of similarly situated students differently, but that is not the case here,” Keen wrote. 

“This is a win for commonsense, parents, and the safety of students,” said Temucula school board attorney Robert Tyler, president of Advocates for Faith & Freedom. “TVUSD is committed to providing a quality education free of political agendas and free from dishonest and divisive curriculum. This ruling allows TVUSD to continue implementing these sound policies.”

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, however, stated their intention to immediately challenge the decision by filing an appeal.

“Judge Keen’s decision to support a locally elected school board’s authority to safeguard parental rights and bar the teaching of racist doctrines that fuel division among students of diverse ethnic backgrounds is a step in the right direction,” stated Greg Burt, vice president of the California Family Council. “Furthermore, this ruling reveals the lies Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and Superintendent Thurmond have leveled against the Temecula school board members. Their actions were not an attempt to gloss over history or to harm students grappling with gender identity. We trust this victory will embolden other school districts to adopt similar policies.”


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