A California teacher’s union is part of a group taking legal action against the school board for a ban on Critical Race Theory they approved in December 2022.
In an August 2 court filing, the Temecula Teacher’s Union along with a coalition of parents, students and teachers, called the ban restrictive, arguing that it “hinders Temecula educators’ ability to teach state-mandated content standards, prepare for the coming academic year, and support rather than stifle student inquiry.”
“It is vague, it is discriminatory, it is unlawful, and it contravenes every single freedom at the heart of American democracy,” said Amanda Mangaser Savage, a supervising senior staff attorney for the group.
The Temecula Valley school board, which is controlled by a conservative Christian majority, passed the ban on CRT on December 13 with a 3-2 vote. Arguing that “Critical Race Theory violates the fundamental principle of equal protection under the law.”
Students across the district organized walkouts in response to the decision. And teachers say the issue has turned their classrooms into hostile work environments.
“The fear to comply is real,” said Edgar Diaz, president of the Temecula Valley Educators Association. “Educators are identified on social media outlets, and targeted through their social profiles and classroom voicemails with horrible accusations that go against the very nature of their service to the students of Temecula.”
Critical Race Theory has become a hot button issue in school board meetings across the country. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund defines it as:
“academic and legal framework that denotes that systemic racism is part of American society — from education and housing to employment and healthcare. Critical race theory recognizes that racism is more than the result of individual bias and prejudice. It is embedded in laws, policies and institutions that uphold and reproduce racial inequalities. According to CRT, societal issues like Black Americans’ higher mortality rate, outsized exposure to police violence, the school-to-prison pipeline, denial of affordable housing, and the rates of the death of Black women in childbirth are not unrelated anomalies.”
But while most experts in education say the concept is intended for graduate level education, conservatives have used the term to justify their efforts to ban books and curriculum in K-12 schools and libraries across the country. They argue that presenting students with the facts about the horrors of slavery and racial discrimination promotes division and might make white students feel guilty.