Temecula Valley CRT Workshop disrupted by critics

TVUSD trustees and panel discussing CRT and taking questions from the audience. Valley News photo

TEMECULA – A critical race theory workshop hosted by the Temecula Valley Unified School District turned contentious, on March 22, with two people being escorted out of the meeting by police, including local Justice Pastor Deon Hairston, from Rancho Community Church in Temecula. The TVUSD school board president, Joseph Komrosky, warned the pastor, and then when he continued to shout from the back of the room, had him and a woman removed. Board president Komrosky then called a 10-minute recess to bring order to a very raucous room.

The speaker prior to Pastor, Mr. Langworthy, was thanking the board for looking at both sides of the issue and the merits of having tough discussions and attacking the issues and not each other. He quoted Bible scriptures to make his point for open discussion.

The next speaker was Temecula Rancho Community Church’s Justice Pastor Deon Hairston who addressed the board saying he was expressing his “deep disappointment and disapproval of the board’s recent decision to bring in a panel of ‘so called’ experts on critical race theory (CRT).” He continued, saying it was “widely recognized by the vast majority of experts that bringing CRT into the K-12 classroom is just as outlandish as bringing calculus to the first-grade classroom. Neither idea is viable or credible. Therefore it is asinine to ban it when ‘it isn’t being taught in any classroom in the United States of America.”

Pastor Hairston then went on to berate the board, saying, “You’re continued willful ignorance of the black experience in this country is not only shameful but also detrimental to the education and growth of our children.”

Among other things, Pastor Hairston said, “This 4th of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice but  I must mourn.”

In response to that comment, a woman in the audience said to him, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?” Pastor Hairston started yelling at the back of the room, “Why should I be asked to leave the country?” ” He kept yelling until the board president, after warnings, asked the officers to escort Pastor Hairston out of the building.

Supporters of Hairston started yelling and chanting for the woman to also be escorted out, to which the board agreed and she was escorted out as well. Her identity is not known at this time.

Ms Valdez-Clayton, an immigration attorney and Coronado school board president who served as a master of ceremonies, reiterated that the ban on CRT did not affect teaching on Black History or whitewash Black History. She spoke about the importance of dissension, objectivity and making sure that all voices are heard, unlike the disruptions that were happening from the dissenters in that meeting. She reiterated that all history counts and that all voices need to be heard without government control.

Professor Myers explained about 1 hour and 22 minutes into the meeting the Marxist roots of CRT for those in attendance. Along with presentations, the audience members were able to get their questions and concerns answered by the panel.

The workshop and meeting were attended by Melissa Melendez, former state senator, Edwin Gomez, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Heather Williams, Riverside Assistant Superintendent, the members of the Riverside County Board of Education, members of the Temecula City Council, Trustees from Hemet and Orange County and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The Temecula Valley Unified School District board voted in December to stop teaching CRT, a decision that has sparked protests from students, educators, and community members.
Eighteen states have imposed bans and restrictions on the teaching of critical race theory or on how teachers can discuss racism and sexism since January 2021, according to Education Week.
City News Service contributed to this story.