Protecting K–12 Students from Discrimination

Protecting K–12 Students from Discrimination

Jun 18th, 2021 5 min read

This is a model bill meant for state lawmakers to use regarding K-12 schools:

Whereas, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to speak without government interference, but not to compel others to adopt, affirm, adhere to, or profess specific beliefs;

Whereas, the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides every American with equal protection under the law;

Whereas, slavery, legal racial discrimination, and racism are so inconsistent with the founding principles of the United States that Americans fought a civil war to eliminate the first, waged long-standing political campaigns to eradicate the second, and have made the third unacceptable in the court of public opinion, all of which means that America and its institutions are not systemically racist and confutes the notion that these should be at the center of public elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions; and

Whereas, in the words of civil rights activist Robert Woodson, Americans should be allowed an “aspirational and inspirational take on America’s history, debunking the misguided argument that the present-day problems of black Americans are caused by the injustices of past failures, such as slavery.”

Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature of this state that administrators, faculty, and other employees of public elementary and secondary education institutions maintain policies in accordance with Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In order to promote the intellectual development of the elementary and secondary students of [this state] and protect the free exchange of ideas [according to the constitution of this state], the legislature enacts the following provisions:

a. In accordance with these provisions, no public education employee shall compel a teacher or student to discuss public policy issues of the day without his or her consent.

b. No public education employee shall compel a teacher or student to adopt, affirm, adhere to, or profess ideas in violation of Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including but not limited to the following:

1. That individuals of any race, ethnicity, color, or national origin are inherently superior or inferior;

2. That individuals should be adversely or advantageously treated on the basis of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin;

3. That individuals, by virtue of race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, ethnicity, color, or national origin.

c. No distinction or classification of students shall be made on account of race, ethnicity, color or national origin.

d. No course of instruction or unit of study may direct or otherwise compel students to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the tenets identified in section (b) and its subsections.

e. No course of instruction, unit of study, professional development, or training program may direct or otherwise compel teachers to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the tenets identified in section (b) and its subsections.

f. No employee of a public elementary or secondary school operating in this state, when acting in the course of his or her official duties, shall organize, participate in, or carry out any act or communication that would violate section (b) and its subsections. This shall not be construed to prohibit an employee from discussing the ideas and history of the concepts described in section (b) and its subsections.

g. Nothing in this statute prohibits teachers or students from discussing public policy issues of the day, or ideas that individuals may find unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive.

h. Public institutions found in violation of this section are not eligible for state funding under [state K-12 education formula].

i. In addition to any relief sought through the appropriate Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, an individual may, in the alternative, bring a private right of action against any institution engaged in such prohibited discrimination.

SEVERABILITY. The provisions of this act are hereby declared to be severable, and if any provision of this act, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is declared invalid for any reason, such declaration shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this act.