Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified Grappling With CRT Residue After Banning It

By Julianne Foster
Julianne Foster
Julianne Foster
May 25, 2022 Updated: May 25, 2022

An education board member of the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District—which banned Critical Race Theory (CRT) in early April—said it is going to be a lengthy battle for the district to make its schools CRT-free.

Board Member Shawn Youngblood told The Epoch Times the ban is a part of the initial steps to eliminate CRT, which he described as peeling back layers of an onion.

“We’re starting with one layer and will go to another,” he said.

The board is taking steps to change what is already in place, Youngblood said, but it has been difficult. He said the board’s job now is to define how the ban looks when there are already curriculums with CRT in schools that they don’t have control over.

Considering that CRT has been in the field of education since the mid-1990s, he said those who have been allowing CRT-informed curriculum into the schools have almost a 30-year jump on the board’s actions.

Some parents’ discomfort with the lack of control over the freedom teachers have in classrooms is not baseless, he said, since the board has also been told that college students, many of whom are future teachers, have been “thoroughly attuned” to CRT through college education.

During last week’s Board of Education meeting, a concerned grandmother presented a book—that openly claimed to be a part of the CRT curriculum—to the board. The book was taught in her granddaughter’s third-grade class at Linda Vista Elementary School.

Her granddaughter returned home after being shown a poem by Langston Hughes titled “I, too” and asked her grandmother if she, as a white person, was black. “She didn’t know,” Sue Bayliss said.

She said as a teacher she acknowledged the board has no control over what teachers say in the classroom, but she pleaded with them to look at their curriculum.

“You ever crumple a paper and then try to uncrumple it?” Bayliss asked the board. “Once words are said, you can’t get it straight again.”

According to the district’s resolution that banned CRT, the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum defines CRT as “the practice of interrogating race and racism in society,” which acknowledges race as a social construct—not biologically real—and informs racism as being embedded in systems and institutions to form racial inequalities.

The district also formed a committee to put together a new curriculum for the board to approve, Youngblood said. But AP and IB courses would be excluded from the curriculum alterations following the ban due to a risk of “jeopardiz[ing] the integrity of the coursework” and “losing certification,” according to the resolution.

He also said it is important to teach mathematics, language, and history without language that is anti-American, Marxist, or neo-Marxist—something he said to be “indoctrination instead of education.”

Regarding the remaining CRT curriculum that still appears in classrooms, Youngblood said the board supports their curriculum being transparent for parents to understand what is being taught to their children, and they do so by relying on teachers, administrators, and parents to come forward and report when they see issues.

The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District serves 34 K–12 schools—in the cities of Placentia, Yorba Linda, Anaheim, Brea, and Fullerton—in northeast Orange County.