RALEIGH, N.C. - The N.C. House railroaded approval of HB 324, a bill that would ban teachers from using lessons that acknowledge America’s history and legacies related to racism and sexism. The proposal first appeared in the N.C. House Education Committee on Tuesday in a maneuver that substituted new language into an unrelated bill about charter schools. The committee approved the sweeping new language with roughly six minutes of debate. The N.C. House Rules Committee endorsed the bill later in the day. The full House passed the measure Wednesday afternoon.
Chantal Stevens, executive director for the ACLU of North Carolina, issued the following statement after the House passage of HB 324:
“The way this bill was fast-tracked with no opportunity or notice for public comment is a perfect illustration of what legislators hope to achieve in classrooms across the state. Lawmakers pushing this bill do not want to hear views that conflict with their own. North Carolinians deserve better than a sham process that radically overhauls what can be taught to the more than 1.5 million public school students in our state.
“Rather than help young people get the most out of their education to help them grow into informed and engaged citizens, some lawmakers want to practice censorship and impose an alternate version of American history — one that erases the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of Black and Brown people, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
“Teaching about systemic racism and sexism is not discrimination. Including such topics in curriculums will equip future generations with the critical thinking skills required to reckon with contemporary racial and gender discrimination. Prohibiting these topics in the classroom is an authoritarian exercise that would chill the First Amendment rights that teachers and students retain in the classroom and prohibit speech and curriculum that may be critical to achieving educational equity for students as required under the law.
“Slavery and its legacy of oppression are parts of North Carolina’s history that Black people are still facing today. The recent protests and calls for racial justice demonstrate that people across North Carolina fully acknowledge the realities of systemic racism and sexism are still alive and well, and that the education to dismantle the systems and pursue change is more important than ever.”