North Dakota’s House of Representatives passed a bill banning so-called critical race theory in schools Thursday morning.
In short, the House Bill 1508 bans teaching that racism is systemically embedded in American society and contributing to inequality.
Several lawmakers opposed the bill, saying CRT is not happening in North Dakota.
“No one has been able to produce an actual piece of evidence that this is part of curriculum anywhere in K-12 — legit evidence,” Rep. Gretchen Dobervich (D – Fargo) said.
They also noted the bill lacks consequences for teachers who violate it, arguing if it’s a severe enough problem, there should be penalties.
“What are we doing by passing a law that has no consequences, no penalty tied to it,” Rep. Corey Mock (D – Grand Forks) said.
Some brought up first amendment concerns and that local school boards should make these decisions, not the state.
“The limited cases that were cited by parents should be resolved by school boards at the local level,” Rep. Shannon Roers Jones (R- Fargo) said.
But the overwhelming majority, 76 lawmakers, voted to ban it, some calling the idea evil.
“I wouldn’t feed my children poison, and I don’t want our teachers feeding our students, my constituents and family and friends, poison,” Rep. Terry Jones (R) New Town said.
Others said that even if the problem isn’t pervasive, it could be — urging the bill pass as a preventive measure.
“I believe that it is, it’s been subtle, it’s going to increase if we don’t prohibit it,” Rep. Rick Becker (R – Bismarck) said.
Rep. Scott Louser says as a parent he supports the bill.
“I want them to learn math, English, history, science technology, etc. I want them to achieve, believe in themselves. What I don’t want is for them to be taught that their success in life is a result of white privilege based on systematic racism in this free state and country,” Rep. Scott Louser (R – Minot) said.
The bill will head to the Senate next for a vote.
The bill would give Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler the ability to create rules to enforce the ban.
If the Senate approves the bill, it will head to the governor for his signature.