The incident took place at a meeting in Temecula Valley Unified School District southeast of Los Angeles, where the school board had previously voted to ban critical race theory. The meeting was organized as a workshop to explain why the board had banned the theory from schools in December.
The tenor of the meeting turned sour when Deon Hairston, a black man, told the school board that the ban on critical race theory was “asinine” because it wasn’t taught in schools.
Critical race theory is an academic theory that posits that U.S. institutions and culture are systemically racist and oppressive to racial minorities, especially black people. The incorporation of critical race theory-linked concepts in public schools, such as white privilege and systemic racism, have been a major touchstone of controversy in recent years. Multiple states have banned the theory from public school classrooms.
“It is widely recognized by the vast majority of experts that bringing CRT into the K-12 classrooms is just as outlandish as bringing calculus to the first-grade classroom,” Hairston said. “Therefore, it is asinine to ban CRT when it isn’t even taught in any classroom in the United States of America.”
Hairston, who was at this point shouting at the board, said that a woman in the audience had told him he should leave the country if he felt as he did.
“My family has been here since Aug. 16, 1619,” he pronounced angrily after a member of the school board warned him that he could be removed from the venue.
As Hairston continued to yell at the board, saying, “we’ve been slaves for 400 years,” board President Joseph Komrosky asked security to escort him out of the building.
In response, the crowd could be heard heckling the board, prompting Komrosky to say, “if you like, the whole auditorium can leave.”
The woman who heckled Hairston was reportedly asked to leave following the incident, according to Newsweek.