Senator Marco Rubio introduced a bill that would require the Department of Education to investigate parent and student complaints regarding Critical Race Theory.
Rubio introduced the “Protecting Students From Racial Hostility Act” amid growing concerns that the Biden administration’s Education Department Office of Civil Rights lead holds views akin to “anti-racist” scholar Ibram X. Kendi. The legislation directs the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to investigate parent and student complaints against the use of curriculum, teaching, or counseling that promotes “divisive concepts” and fosters “racially-hostile school environments.”
The legislation would require that the OCR investigate when a parent or student submits a complaint alleging discrimination or the promotion of Critical Race Theory.
Examples of discrimination include:
- One race is inherently superior to another race
- The United States is fundamentally racist
- An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously
- An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race
- Members of one race cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race
- An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race
- An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race, bears responsibility committed in the past by other members of the same race
- Any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race
- Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race
The legislation also mandates that state Attorneys General allow Governors to hold schools in their states accountable if the OCR fails to investigate and enforce existing protections.
Rubio told The Daily Wire that Critical Race Theory is teaching younger generations to “hate their country.”
“The Democrat Party, led by an activist wing of radical Marxists, is trying to remake our nation by teaching younger generations of Americans to hate their country and that certain groups of Americans are inherently racist solely because of the color of their skin,” Rubio said. “That movement, called Critical Race Theory, begins in our children’s schools.”
The introduction of the legislation came after the Senate education committee held hearings on Biden’s Education Department OCR lead, Catherine Lhamon. Republican Senator Richard Burr asked Lhamon how she defined “racism.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “racism” as a “belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” If confirmed, my concern would be — and the concern of the Office for Civil Rights is — ensuring that all students are protected from discrimination on the basis of race.
Burr continued by asking whether it would be “a violation of Title VI to ascribe character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status or beliefs to a race or to an individual solely because of his or her race.”
Lhamon refused to answer.
Max Eden, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, concluded that Lhamon needed no further context to answer Burr’s question because violating Title VI would be counterintuitive to her own definition of racism.
“Ultimately, then, Lhamon’s refusal to admit that any of these obviously racist illegal practices violates federal civil rights law comes quite close to an admission that she will, at best, not enforce equal protection equally,” Eden said.
Biden’s Education Department OCR has been in stark contrast from the Trump administration’s which found that racial affinity groups are “discriminatory.” In Evanston, Illinois, Trump’s Education Department OCR found that a school district engaged in “intentional race discrimination” when they segregated staff by race for professional development and forced students to partake in a “privilege walk.”
The Biden administration suspended that decision and approved the use of so-called “affinity groups” in public schools.