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Morning Brief: Critical Race Theory In OC, Baseball’s Opening Day, And Bob Baker Day

A row of books with "In Reckless Hands" sitting center.
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 8.

Even though critical race theory is not now, nor has it ever been, taught in grades K-12, Orange County’s Placentia-Yorba Linda School Board voted to ban it in their public school classrooms. 

The vote was decided by a margin of 3-2 at a board meeting on Tuesday night.

The school of thought known as “critical race theory” is highly nuanced. Some of its work involves critically examining political, legal and cultural decisions or movements that are or have been made on the basis of race, and whether they ultimately helped or harmed society. The work also examines structural racism and the way it infiltrates and informs communities.

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It involves the study of complicated research and academic thinking, and it’s not being taught to third graders. 

Carrie Buck, the Placentia-Yorba Linda School Board's president, tried to make that point when the board discussed the matter on Tuesday.

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"Our curriculum has never been and isn't [critical race theory]," she said. "This resolution is politically driven, and it serves to ban and censor."

In response, Board member Leandra Blades argued that a ban would not be about politics, but rather about the removal thereof.

"I don't want my politics,” she said. “I don't want your politics. I don't want anybody's politics in there … [but] there are so many things you could teach your kids at home, if you really are passionate about these subjects, then teach them. But just the people who are against it, it shouldn't be forced."

Over 100 students urged the board not to ban what the board was calling critical race theory. During Tuesday night’s public comments, eighth-grader Avery Yang expressed his opposition to the ban.

"Teaching race-related topics … is trying to understand different perspectives, especially those different from our own, so we can understand how past history affects our current society,” he said. “This is critically important for us as a next generation to not repeat past mistakes."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Coronavirus outbreaks have more than tripled in the last 10 days in Los Angeles County schools.
  • No charges will be filed against a Pasadena police officer who fatally shot Anthony McClain in the back as McClain fled from a traffic stop. 
  • Baseball’s opening day sees the Los Angeles Angels hosting the Houston Astros. The Dodgers open tomorrow to take on the Colorado Rockies at Denver’s Coors Field.
  • California’s State Parks will offer free vehicle day-use entry to over 200 parks for folks who have library cards. 
  • President Joe Biden extended the pandemic pause on federal student loan repayment. Borrowers won't have to renew their monthly payments until the end of August. 
  • The Senate has voted 53 to 47 to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th Supreme Court justice. Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the nation's high court.
  • A mental health crisis is looming as a result of the pandemic, and some experts wonder if people’s experiences will be akin to trauma.

Before You Go ... This Week's Event Pick: Bob Baker Day 2022

A crowd of children and their parents are on a grass field watching marionnette show in the foreground.
The 8th annual Bob Baker Day festival returns to LA State Historic Park with live music, activities and a lot of puppets.
(Ian Byers-Gamber)

Bob Baker Day returns to the L.A. State Historic Park in person this year with puppetry, stage performances, and dozens of vendors and creators. In addition to the puppets from Bob Baker, participating organizations include Pacific Opera Project, Southern California Children's Museum and Angel City Press. Food trucks and stands will be onsite, too.

Puppets not your thing? You could also: Screen a diverse group of LGBTQ+ BIPOC films at Outfest Fusion. Catch some races. Attend Bob Baker Day 2022. Head to the desert for art and the outdoors. And more.

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