In a state Senate hearing on Tuesday, North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill that defines how racism, gender and sexism can be taught in schools and also bars teachers from promoting certain sociopolitical beliefs to their students.
According to the Associated Press, the bill is heading to the Senate Rules Committee then must have a floor vote. The bill would need final approval from the GOP-controlled House, which also backed an earlier version of the bill. North Carolina is one of more than two dozen states adopting policies of this kind for their schools.
According to Newsweek, before the meeting, the state’s Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson held a news conference with fellow Republicans to discuss an 831-page task force report that they created. They found that teachers were allegedly assigning some questionable reading materials about racism and sexuality to their students.
Democrats on the committee grilled Robinson, saying he and other Republicans could not identify a single case where the bill — if signed into law - would prevent such cases of “indoctrination” from taking place. Senate Democratic Whip Jay Chaudhuri accused Robinson and his task force of threatening educators.
“This week marks the first week of our kids going back to school, and I feel that we should be spending time this week honoring our children, and instead, we’re spending time debating a Fox News-driven issue that’s more about fear-mongering and has turned into a fishing expedition of our public school teachers,” Chaudhuri said.
Robinson took issue with Chaudhuri’s assertion the conservative network is driving the discussion. “For you to call it that is an insult, an absolute insult,” Robinson exclaimed. “You know where my office is and you know that this task force is going on. When did you contact me?”
The report, according to AP, listed teachers assigning a book titled “George” about a transgender child coming to terms with gender identity and a vocabulary sheet that mentions Trump in a sentence describing the term “xenophobia.”
Many of the conservatives threw around the catch-all “critical race theory” and deemed all the materials they found in the report “inappropriate.” The Root has already explained that critical race theory is the boogeyman that literally does not exist in classrooms.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has publicly criticized the measure and is expected to veto it.