(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Senate has pulled the plug on a bill to bar schools from teaching “divisive concepts” about race and racism.
President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) announced in a one-sentence statement the bill inspired by conservative complaints about critical race theory has “no path forward” and “will not be considered.”
Republicans had set out to block teachers from pushing their own viewpoints, drafting legislation to bar schools from making students feel “discomfort or guilt” based on their race, sex, religion or political party. Education groups warned the bill was too broad and would leave teachers afraid to discuss racism at all, for fear of triggering lawsuits authorized under the bill. ‘
Those objections were overshadowed by a national uproar when Noblesville Republican Scott Baldwin, the author of the Senate version of the bill, took issue with a teacher who argued teachers not be neutral when teaching about Nazism. Baldwin responded that teachers should discuss only the existence of Nazism, fascism or Marxism, not take a stand, declaring, “I believe we’ve gone too far when we take a position on those isms. We need to be impartial.”
Baldwin issued two statements walking back his remarks and saying he had “failed to articulate” his position. House Republicans added language to their version of the bill, which author Tony J. Cook (R-Cicero) summarized as, “Schools can and should teach that Nazism is bad.”
As late as Thursday, Speaker Todd Huston said Republicans were still talking with education groups to make sure the bill didn’t “make it harder for [teachers] to teach.”
The revised House bill was on track for a vote next week and could still be revived in the Senate if it passes, but Bray’s statement appeared to slam the door on the proposal.