ACLU-KY Statement on Senate Passage of Classroom Censorship Bill
Per ACLU-KY press release:
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 harm our students’ ability to engage 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, especially 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 couldn’t be less patriotic. Honest patriotism would engage with our past, learn from our mistakes and wrongs, and continue to strive for a more perfect union.
SB138 references the history of slavery and racial segregation in our country, but denies teachers and students the opportunity to explore how that history has defined our current understanding of race and its ongoing effects on the society. America has existed longer with slavery than without. The impacts of this cannot be overstated and must be understood.
There is a lot of good in our history, but there are also ugly facts like slavery, white supremacy, worker exploitation, homophobia, sexism, etc. Last weekend underscored the importance of understanding our complicated history as we mark the 80th anniversary of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
We wrote to lawmakers expressing our concerns and they listened to testimonies from several students and educators who shared their strong opposition to this legislation, but the Senate went the route of censure.
We urge the House of Representatives to reject this harmful legislation.
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