A teachers union in New Hampshire is suing the state to block a law that bans Critical Race Theory in public schools.
The American Federation of Teachers’ New Hampshire chapter filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, arguing that the law violates teachers’ First Amendment rights.
“This law has created fear among teachers who are not actually violating any New Hampshire law, but fear they could be targeted without evidence by people with a political agenda. Educators are terrified of losing their teaching license over simply trying to teach,” said Deb Howes, president of AFT-NH in a statement. “This is something I never thought would happen in America.”
Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, called the law “chilling and untenable” in the same statement. “Either teachers attempt to follow a law so defectively vague and broad that they can’t fulfill their instructional duties to adequately educate their students, or they choose to teach as they have and as the state law has long required, and risk career-ending repercussions,” said Weingarten.
“We must teach both our triumphs and our mistakes, whether it’s enslavement, Japanese internment or the treatment of those with disabilities,” she said.
New Hampshire Republican Governor Chris Sununu defended the law, telling Fox News in a statement: “Nothing in this language prevents schools from teaching any aspect of American history, such as teaching about racism, sexism, or slavery — it simply ensures that children will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, sexual identity, or religion,” he said.
The law was passed and signed into law in June. The Daily Wire previously reported:
The law the group is referring to, “Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education,” was passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Chris Sununu on June 25. The law prohibits public employees from teaching or training any student or other employee:
- “that people of one age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin, are inherently superior or inferior” to another person of any of these immutable characteristics or personal identities;
- that an individual is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, because of some immutable characteristic or group identity;
- that an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of some immutable characteristic or group identity; or
- that people of one identity group or immutable characteristic should not treat other classes of people equally, without regard to those traits or classes
The law also contains a similar provision in a subsequent section that extends the bans to public schools specifically. The law does include protections for “discussing, as part of a larger course of academic instruction, the historical existence of ideas and subjects” like racism and discrimination. …
Furthermore, the law provides that violations of the law by a teacher constitute “a violation of the educator code of conduct that justifies disciplinary sanction by the state board of education.” An FAQ document from state officials indicates that a violation of the law by a teacher subjects that teacher to disciplinary action by the state board of education, which could potentially include a loss of credentials.
New Hampshire is one of several states that have already banned Critical Race Theory in public schools.