Students in the Temecula school district will receive social studies textbooks that the conservative school board rejected because the accompanying teachers’ materials mentioned gay politician Harvey Milk.
The state will buy the books and fine the Temecula school district, if the board does not act, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.
In a tweet, Newsom said, “We’re going to purchase the book for these students — the same one that hundreds of thousands of kids are already using. If these extremist school board members won’t do their job, we will — and fine them for their incompetence.”
A school board in Temecula decided to reject a textbook because it mentioned Harvey Milk.
CA is stepping in.
We’re going to purchase the book for these students—the same one that hundreds of thousands of kids are already using.
If these extremist school board members won’t do… pic.twitter.com/r2iirL8b5v
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 13, 2023
In a press statement issued later in the day, Newsom said, “Cancel culture has gone too far in Temecula: Radicalized zealots on the school board rejected a textbook used by hundreds of thousands of students and now children will begin the school year without the tools they need to learn.
“If the school board won’t do its job by its next board meeting to ensure kids start the school year with basic materials, the state will deliver the book into the hands of children and their parents — and we’ll send the district the bill and fine them for violating state law.”
In May, the board for the Temecula Valley Unified School District rejected a curriculum that included the elementary-school textbook “Social Studies Alive!” The book itself does not mention Milk, the first out gay public official elected in California, but he is listed in the supplemental materials for teachers. Those materials are also available to students in upper grades.
At the time of the vote, Joseph Komrosky, the board president, called Milk a sexual predator.
But Milk was not a pedophile. Komrosky was apparently making reference to a relationship between Milk and Jack McKinley, which began when Milk was in his early 30s and McKinley was 16.
When the two met in New York, the age of consent in the state was 14. McKinley had turned 18 when the pair moved to California. Komrosky later said he didn’t think any relationship between a 33-year-old and a 16-year-old was appropriate, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Newsom criticized Komrosky, tweeting at the time that his remark about Milk was “an offensive statement from an ignorant person,” and California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced an investigation of the district.
California requires schools to teach LGBTQ-inclusive history.
In June, the majority conservative Christian Temecula school district board fired Superintendent Jodi McClay.