Ohio bills seek to ban teaching of critical race theory

Reegan Saunders Reporter

Ohio House Bills 322 and 327 could change the future of education in a negative way, Akii Butler, a student organizer for the Ohio Student Association, told Black United Students (BUS) Wednesday.


“There are two House Bills that seek to prohibit the teachings of what they consider to be divisive concepts,” Butler said. “Those concepts include anything that deals with race, gender, sex, religion, current events or anything that could be seen as divisive. They’re sort of Ohio’s versions of the anti-critical race theory bills.”


As of June, five states have passed laws banning the teaching of critical race theory in schools and 22 states have proposed bills, including Ohio.


If passed, the bills would allow teachers to forgo teaching material that conflicts with their religious or philosophical beliefs. In addition, history and “divisive topics,” for example slavery, would need to be taught from an impartial view. The teaching of current events would be prohibited.


They would also remove requirements for anti-racism or anti-bias training in schools and police stations.


In a statement released to the public, BUS noted how dangerous the passing of this bill could be:


“Those classes are created to teach students about democracy, freedom, and social structures in America and around the world. Suppressing the press and freedom of teaching about things happening around us is disturbing. The Ohio House of Representatives would like to create a learning environment that is not relevant nor reflective of modern times. Not only will this bill be egregiously non-inclusive but also dismissive to children especially minorities living truth.”


While HB 322 affects K-12 education, HB 327 targets K-12, state higher education and state agencies. Schools that choose to teach or promote “controversial topics” will lose state funding. On an individual basis, a teacher who is reported may risk lawsuits and the loss of their teaching license.


At this time, BUS is unsure of how this bill could affect specific courses at Kent State if it is passed; curriculums dealing with race, gender or sexuality would need to be revised.


Butler said any students interested in learning more or providing a testimony look into Honesty for Ohio Education or the Ohio Student Association.

Reegan Saunders is a reporter. Contact them at [email protected].