When we prevent our children from receiving a truthful education, we limit their ability to understand current events and learn the life skills necessary to navigate complex situations. The legislature has begun to consider multiple bills that prevent our kids from getting an honest, quality education. Politicians are also expanding these educational gag orders beyond the classroom, to restrict educational trainings at private businesses. Such restrictions on learning deprive us and our children of an education where all people feel valued and accepted, while building critical life skills that prepare us for future success.
- SB 2290/HB 2670, which could chill substantive discussions between students and employees in higher education on race, sex, religion, creed, political affiliation, or social class in seminars, workshops, trainings, or orientations.
- SB 1944/HB 1944, which would ban materials that are perceived as “obscene” or “harmful to minors” from public schools. This vague language could be used to censor books about LGBTQ people, communities of color, or other marginalized groups. Books that have been found to be “obscene” or “harmful to minors” in the past include “Maus” by Art Spiegelman, “Anne Frank: Diary of a Girl,” “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the dictionary.
- SB 2298/HB 2313, which would censor conversations in private businesses, preventing employers from holding trainings, orientations, or other informational programs that discuss race, sex, religion, creed, political affiliation, or class if the conversation is perceived as “divisive.” This bill could prohibit discussion of unconscious bias in the workplace. It also allows employees to sue their employers if they believe this law has been violated.
Lawmakers should stop these educational gag orders and instead advocate for truth in education, which builds critical skills so that everyone learns to communicate with a broad range of diverse people, places, and perspectives.