California Governor Condemns School Board Members for Blocking Harvey Milk from Curriculum
California Governor Gavin Newsom has spoken out against three Southern California school board members who prevented an updated social studies curriculum from being formally approved because it included information about gay rights icon Harvey Milk. The board members, who received backing from the conservative Christian Inland Empire Family PAC, claimed that Milk’s “lifestyle choices” were “wildly inappropriate” and called him a “pedophile.”
Board Members Accused of Whitewashing History
The board members’ objections to Milk’s inclusion in the curriculum are part of a larger conservative movement to influence what children are taught about race and gender in school. Critics argue that this movement amounts to whitewashing history and erasing marginalized groups. School board member Allison Barclay argued that Milk was a significant historical figure who “got the ball rolling” on advocating for federally protected classes of people.
Vote Leaves School District in Potential Violation of California Laws
The board members’ 3-2 vote against the new classroom material, which had already been approved by the state, leaves the Temecula Valley Unified School District in potential violation of California laws on textbook compliance. The district has extended the window for parental feedback on textbook materials and is communicating with officials at the county and state levels on the issue.
Newsom Condemns Board Members’ Offensive Statements
Governor Newsom condemned the board members’ offensive statements, calling them “an offensive statement from an ignorant person” in a tweet. He also emphasized that in California, “our kids have the freedom to learn.” Newsom’s response has drawn attention to the incident and its implications for education in the state.
Controversy Over Milk’s Inclusion in Curriculum
Milk, who was assassinated in 1978, became one of the first openly gay men to be elected to public office as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He is only mentioned in supplemental materials, not the main textbook, and the materials in question were intended for fourth graders. The pedophilia accusation against Milk appears to stem from a 1982 biography that says Milk lived with a teen boy in New York City’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s when he was in his 30s.