Ohio Republican lawmakers introduce bill to ban divisive concepts from public schools

Reps. Mike Loychik (R) and Jean Schmidt (R) on April 4, 2022, introduced a bill in the Ohio House of Representatives that aims to ban curriculum that promotes divisive or racist concepts in public schools. The bill provides a list of prohibited topics including critical race theory; intersectionality; diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes; and “any other concept that the state board of education defines as divisive or inherently racist.” It also bans curriculum on sexual orientation and gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade.

Schmidt said in support of the bill, “The classroom is a place that seeks answers for our children without political activism. Parents deserve and should be provided a say in what is taught to their children in schools. The intent of this bill is to provide them with the tools to be able to see what their child is being taught.” Loychik added, “This legislation promotes free and fair discussion.”

Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Scott DiMauro on April 5 released a statement opposing HB 616. DiMauro said, “These politicians are continuing to use race and sexual orientation as wedge issues to score cheap political points, and they should be ashamed of themselves. Rather than persisting with these disingenuous attacks on educators and public schools, we need pro-public education policies that enable students to think critically about the world around them and empower them to be proud of who they are, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they express their gender identities, or who they – or their parents – love.”

There had not been further consideration of the bill since it was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives, as of April 21, 2022.

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