On Tuesday night, April 5, the board of the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District of Orange, California, narrowly approved a resolution banning the teaching of critical race theory in the district’s state schools.
In a 3-2 vote, school board members ended months of contentious debate in the Orange County district by resolving to end discussion of race in the classroom, which uses the controversial critical race theory as its underpinning.
Critical race theory (CRT), which has been taught in some schools, encourages students to analyze systemic racism and installs the idea that America is culturally racist, and that there is a generational responsibility passed down from the time of slavery in the country.
“The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District desires to uplift and unite students by not imposing the responsibility of historical transgressions in the past and instead will engage students of all cultures in age-appropriate critical thinking that helps students navigate the past, present, and future,” says the resolution signed by board officials.
It also stresses that while the district supports schools promoting “equity, respect, diversity; celebrating the contributions of all; and fostering culturally relevant and inclusive teaching practices,” it will not allow CRT to be used “as a framework to guide such efforts.”
Karin Freeman, a board member who voted against banning CRT, claimed restriction of free speech and censorship.
This change creates obstacles and impediments for students’ success,” Freeman said. “If students aren’t able to have access to rigorous coursework, the impact will be real.”
While Leandra Blades, one of the members who supported the ban, expressed the importance of keeping these types of topics out of the classroom, and indicated that teaching topics such as CRT should be left up to parents and be talked about in their homes.
“I don’t want my politics, I don’t want your politics, I don’t want anybody’s politics in [classrooms],” Blades said. “I do believe in teaching kids to think critically. But there are so many classes … there are so many things you could teach your kids at home. If you really are passionate about these subjects, then teach them,” according to the LA Times.
Parents and some lawmakers around the country are trying to implement a ban on CRT in schools and return control of their children’s education back to parents, not only on this issue, but also on gender identity and comprehensive sex education.
Kristi Noem, South Dakota’s Republican governor, referenced this in a statement after signing an executive order Tuesday banning critical race theory in schools, according to Fox News.
“Political indoctrination has no place in our classrooms,” she said, adding that “our children will not be taught that they are racists or that they are victims.”
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill, which gives families greater authority when discussing gender issues with their children.
“In Florida we not only know that parents have a right to be involved, we insist that parents have a right to be involved,” he said in a video shared on Facebook.