Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 15, 2022

Today, House legislators advanced House Bill 1012 and House Bill 1337, legislation that would censor academic discussions in classrooms on South Dakota college campuses and K-12 public schools.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes both bills. The following statements can be attributed to Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager.

On House Bill 1012:

“Honest and frank discussions about American history, race, gender, sex or national origin should be welcomed on our college campuses, not prohibited. What these lawmakers claim are harmful ideologies are actually concepts used to educate individuals on systemic barriers and discrimination people of color and other marginalized groups still face in this country across our institutions. House Bill 1012 really a blatant attempt to suppress and censor speech that some people disfavor.”

On House Bill 1337:

“Lawmakers claim that educators are teaching about these topics in ways that sow division among our K-12 students and are contrary to the unity of the nation. They say that restrictions on honest discussions about race and government prevent the political indoctrination of students. But many teachers would interpret these restrictions to mean a ban on discussing these issues at all. That, combined with the threat of being accused of breaking the law, would have a chilling effect on speech and important discussions about systemic racism and American history in our classrooms.”

About the ACLU of South Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of South Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and Wyoming. The team in South Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of South Dakota.