ACLU-KY Statement on Senate passage of classroom censorship bill

Forward Kentucky
Forward Kentucky

Via press release from ACLU-KY:

The Kentucky Senate today passed Senate Bill 138 to censor discussions between teachers and students. This legislation is a solution in search of a non-existent problem, and it will impair our students’ ability to engage with and understand the world around them.

Bills like SB138 are part of a nationwide strategy to whitewash history, perpetuate white supremacy, and erase marginalized people – particularly people of color and LGBTQ people. They would also deny educators and students their First Amendment right to free speech.

Proponents of bills like SB138 say they want to instill patriotic values in our students, but this legislation could not be any less patriotic. Honest patriotism would engage with our past, learn from our mistakes and harms, and continue striving to create a more perfect union.

SB138 references the history of slavery and racial segregation in our country, but denies the opportunity for teachers and students to explore how this history has defined our current understanding of race and its continued effects on society. America has existed longer with slavery than without it. The impacts of that cannot be overstated and must be understood.

There is a lot of good in our history, but there are also ugly facts of slavery, white supremacy, worker exploitation, homophobia, sexism, and more. This past weekend highlighted the importance of understanding our complicated history as we marked the 80th anniversary of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

We wrote to lawmakers to share our concerns and they listened to testimony from several students and educators who shared their strong opposition to this legislation, but the Senate has proceeded down the path of censorship.

We strongly urge the House of Representatives to reject this harmful legislation.

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