By David Bass
Carolina Journal News Service
RALEIGH — The teaching of critical race theory as the only explanation of America’s past would be outlawed in public schools under a bill approved by the N.C. House Education Committee on Tuesday, May 11.
A proposed committee substitute for House Bill 324 would prohibit public schools from promoting the idea that one race or sex is inherently superior to another; an individual is racist, sexist, or oppressive based solely on their own race or sex (consciously or unconsciously); an individual should receive special treatment solely because of his or her race or sex; moral character is determined by race or sex; or based solely on race or sex, an individual bears responsibility for actions taken in the past by members of that same race or sex.
The bill would also outlaw instruction that the U.S. is racist, sexist, or was created specifically to oppress minorities and women.
“No student or school employee should be made to feel inferior solely because of the color of their skin or their gender,” said Rep. John Torbett, R-Gaston, the bill’s primary sponsor. “Our public schools should be a place of respect—not hateful ideologies.”
H.B. 324 would not prohibit critical race theory from being discussed in public schools, but it would prevent such concepts from being taught as fact.
Rep. James Gailliard, D-Nash, harshly criticized the measure. “What this bill does is it keeps history out of our schools. Probably the best way to reproduce history is to not talk about it. This is an act to ensure discrimination, fanaticism, bigotry,” Gailliard said.
“I’m not sure what bill he’s referencing, but the bill before you ensures equity and that all people in society are equitable,” Torbett responded.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt, a Republican, issued a statement in support of the measure:
“This is a common-sense bill that provides reasonable expectations for the kind of civil discourse we want our children to experience in public schools. This ‘golden rule’ approach ensures that all voices are valued in our school system. We want to encourage students to think freely and respect differences of opinions, while ensuring our classrooms are not promoting ideas contrary to the equality and rights of all. Classrooms should be an environment where all points of view are honored. There is no room for divisive rhetoric that condones preferential treatment of any one group over another.”
H.B. 324 is expected to be on the House floor by Wednesday, May 12.