Parents at Tustin Unified School District in Orange County, CA, are demanding answers after discovering their children were given a “White Savior Complex Assignment” and were administered a “Healthy Kids’ survey (which included racial questions) without parental knowledge. Emails, meetings with school administrators, and questions presented at Board meetings were met with little response and few answers.
Parents ultimately submitted a Public Records Request demanding all information and communications regarding Critical Race Theory. On June 2, 2021, parents received files from the District which only heightened concerns that Critical Race Theory was being woven into the school curriculum.
The Public Records Request revealed that a substitute teacher assigned a “White Savior Complex” assignment to high school students in English Honors aligned with their study of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Tustin Unified School District Superintendent Franklin approved the “White Savior Complex” assignment as Ethnic Studies curriculum saying, “I think it’s a good assignment in the ethnic studies course … not so sure about a high school English course.”
Although the District spokesperson stated that the District will not incorporate CRT into its curriculum, the response by Board member, Allyson Damikolas, reflects an attempt to soften language seemingly to keep parents from understanding what is really going on. “I had a comment on the ethnic studies presentation, the second bullet saying that ‘it is not aligned with CRT’ is slightly inaccurate in my opinion. I think it would be more accurate to say that it is ‘not the same as CRT’ or something like that…..The ideas that we recognize that systems are not always fair because of race, and we value diversity, is a component of CRT. It’s complicated and nuanced I admit, but that bullet in particular will be scrutinized by that opposing parent group.”