Political group says Coronado Unified anti-bias program is ‘critical race theory’ by another name

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CORONADO, Calif. – A local Republican politician led a town hall Monday night in Coronado, calling for community members to hold their local school district accountable for adopting an anti-bias program called “No Place For Hate.”

The Coronado Unified School District adopted the national program in 2020, but Carl DeMaio and others in attendance at the town hall organized by DeMaio’s Reform California political action committee argue it’s an example of so-called “critical race theory” and want the district’s board to reconsider implementation of the program.

“They are trying to claim it’s not critical race theory,” said DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman who twice unsuccessfully sought a seat in Congress. “They gave it a different name.”

Designed to combat bias and bullying in schools, the national program was developed by the Anti-Defamation League. More than 1,600 schools across the United States have adopted the “No Place for Hate” program, including dozens in San Diego County.

But amid a discussion featuring questions and comments, DeMaio called on community members to speak out at school board meetings and potentially even recall board members in support of the program.

Stacy Keszei, who sits on the board, spoke out against the anti-bias program. She says if people are in favor of critical race theory, it’s their right to teach their own children, but it’s not the right of the school to do so.

“No one wants hate, of course,” Keszei said. “So, this is almost a trick to a child’s mind. Of course I want to be part of this program because it’s a no place for hate. I don’t want to hate. I love my neighbor, I love my friend — they don’t look at skin color.”

Coronado Unified Superintendent Karl Mueller answered several questions regarding the program. He argues the program is not an example of critical race theory.

“Everyone is conflating any focus on equity or inclusivity as it relates to race under CRT,” Mueller said. “We are not teaching that one race is inherently good or bad. We are not shaming white people for the past. What we are doing, is we are teaching our students to understand and embrace all human experiences with sensitivity.”

The board meets next Aug. 19. No votes on changes of curriculum are on the agenda.

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