House bill restricting what students can learn about nation’s racial past is headed to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk

The N.C. House of Representatives has approved House Bill 324, the controversial legislation that restricts what K-12 students can be taught about the nation’s racial history.

HB 324 was approved on a 61-41 party line vote. Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Democrats voted against it. The legislation was sent to the House for concurrence after receiving Senate approval last week.

The bill is now headed to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. The governor is expected to veto the legislation. Republicans do not hold the supermajorities needed to override Cooper’s vetoes.

HB 324 has been one of the more divisive bills of the legislative session. Those who support it contend the proposed law will prevent teachers from indoctrinating students with liberal ideology infused with Critical Race Theory (CRT).

“Our schools should be a place where our children are educated and inspired,” House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican from Cleveland County, said in a statement. “However, some have hijacked our classrooms to instill their own hateful, anti-American values in our students, while any opposing viewpoints to this theory from students or other teachers are met with rebuke, even bullying.”

Educators contend the obscure academic discipline that examines how American racism has shaped law and public policy isn’t being taught in K-12 classrooms.

Senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican from Rockingham, disagreed with that assessment last week.

“Try to convince the thousands of parents who are showing up at school board meetings around the state,” Berger said. “Are they just making up what they are talking about.”

Meanwhile, opponents of the legislation say students won’t learn hard truths about America’s racial past if the bill is approved.

“HB 324 is a threat to equitable education, and will disproportionately impact students of color, young girls, and LGBTQ+ students by telling them that their experiences are not worthy of inclusion in their curricula,” Chantal Stevens, executive director for the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement. “We strongly urge Governor [Roy] Cooper to veto this bill to protect open discourse in the classroom.”

HB 324 would ban the following concepts from being discussed in public school classrooms:

  • One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
  • An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive.
  • An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.
  • An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex.
  • An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
  • Any individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress.
  • A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist.
  • The United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex.
  • The United States government should be violently overthrown.
  • Particular character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs should be ascribed to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual’s race or sex.
  • The rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups.
  • All Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Governments should deny to any person within the government’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.

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