RALEIGH, N.C. - In a victory for North Carolina’s students and educational system, Governor Cooper has vetoed HB 324, legislation that would have inhibited equitable, comprehensive classroom discussion by restricting topics related to racism and sexism.
The proposal first appeared in an unrelated bill about charter schools and was approved by the House Education Committee after a mere six minutes of debate, offering no opportunity for public comment. Since then, community members have denounced the bill, arguing that it would have detrimental impacts on students, especially students of color, a chilling effect on teachers, and a culture of surveillance for teachers to the detriment of educational curricula.
Chantal Stevens, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, issued the following statement following Governor Cooper’s veto of HB324:
“This was the only acceptable outcome for legislation that was a threat to our students and their ability to learn and become informed, conscientious community members.
“We appreciate that the Governor has prioritized students’ education with this veto. However, HB 324’s advancement through the North Carolina legislature demonstrates that many decision-makers are responding to calls for racial justice and comprehensive attention to inequity with legislation that censors these histories.
“This legislation is part of a nationwide coordinated effort to pass classroom censorship laws that silence Critical Race Theory, diversity curricula, and discussions about racism, sexism, and inequity. We urge lawmakers to uphold the Governor’s veto and protect students’ rights to inclusive education and teachers’ rights to do their jobs thoughtfully.”