Update: House Bill 1012 has been assigned to the House Education Committee. This committee meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Consider writing committee members now and asking them to oppose this policy.
Drafted by the Governor’s office, this bill claims to ban critical race theory; instead, it imposes censorship in classrooms by vaguely forbidding ideas, courses, and units of study. This lack of clarity opens the doors for a wide range of interpretations that could be used to chill free speech and academic freedom, discouraging open and honest discussions about systemic racism in classrooms and in school communities.
State lawmakers across the coutry are using bills like this to try to prevent students from having an open and equitable dialogue about our country’s history — one that acknowledges the role of racism in U.S. history and includes the experiences and viewpoints of Black, Indigenous and people of color, and other marginalized communities. All young people deserve to learn an inclusive and complete history in schools, free from censorship or discrimination.
The ACLU of South Dakota opposes this bill because all young people, especially students of color, deserve the right to receive an equitable education where they can freely learn and talk about the history, experiences and viewpoints of all marginalized communities in this country.