TEMECULA—On Wednesday, July 19, California Governor, Gavin Newsom announced that he will impose fines of $1.5 million on Temecula Unified School District. TUSD School Board voted against state-endorsed textbooks that includes LGBTQ/Gay rights in its curriculum.

Newsom along with some other state leaders relayed in an earlier press release that they demanded the school district, “follow the law and adopt the updated curriculum.”

On July 18, in a board meeting that reportedly lasted several hours, the school board voted in a 3-2 majority to reject the adoption of the social studies curriculum, “Social Studies Alive,” authored by gay rights activist, Harvey Milk. The social studies curriculum is geared toward elementary school children.

School Children Photo Via Unsplash

One of the three school board members who voted against the adoption of the new curriculum indicated that he would approve the curriculum if the board also adopted policies prohibiting any discussion of sex and sexual preferences to children under 4th grade.

Another board member by the name of Jennifer Wiersma, indicated that the textbooks did not meet the standards she thought the books should have, including civics.

Newsom made the following remarks in his July 19, press release:

“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. 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.”

This curriculum change will effect close to 5.9 million students from kindergarten through twelfth grade in over 1,000 school districts, over 10,000 schools throughout the state.

According to Newsom, education funding is at a record high in California, totaling $129.2 billion in the 2023-24 budget.

In a June 1, press release, California Attorney General, Rob Bonta joined Governor Newsom and Superintendent of Public Instruction Thurmond in the following statement on censored books:

“In the first half of this school year alone, 1,477 books were banned nationally, with teachers and librarians threatened with prison time for shelving the wrong book,” said Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “As state leaders elected to represent the values of all Californians, we offer our response in one shared voice: 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.”