Background: House Bill 7 and Senate Bill 247 which prohibit the teaching of “divisive concepts”, a term defined in the legislation under a wide-ranging and vague criterion. The bill states that no state agency, local board of education, or institution of higher education may compel students, employees, or contractors to affirm these concepts, including training, orientations, or coursework that “advocates, acts upon, or promote divisive concepts”. It also states that employees found in violation of this legislation can be disciplined or terminated.
Our Position: We oppose HB7 and SB247. These bills are intended to have a chilling effect on discourse regarding race, class, sexuality, and national origin and seeks to characterize these discussion and accurate teachings, assignments, and trainings that also supplement them as “divisive”. This is not only a form of classroom censorship, it’s an anti-truth bill which curtails an education on systemic inequities, racial violence, and the historic efforts to gain civil rights and civil liberties for marginalized communities throughout our nation’s history. The first amendment protects the right to share ideas, including the right of listeners to receive information and knowledge. We must protect this right, including educators and students’ rights to talk and learn about race and gender in schools.