‘Divisive concepts’ bill clears Alabama House, prompting Dems to worry over education’s future

After a bill that would ban divisive concepts from being taught passed on the House floor,...
After a bill that would ban divisive concepts from being taught passed on the House floor, House Democrats fear students will not learn about America’s real history.(Erin Davis)
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 6:15 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2022 at 10:26 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A bill that would ban ‘divisive concepts’ from being taught in Alabama schools has passed the House floor, raising Democrats’ fear that students will not learn about America’s real history.

Some legislators are taking the legislation personally.

“They talk about standing tall for Alabama,” said House minority leader Anthony Daniels, of Huntsville. “They’re standing wrong for Alabama,” continued Daniels.

“You’re not gonna pat me on the back and tell me how much you like me, you love me, but you do things to impact a whole entire generation and generations to come,” Daniels explained.

Hours of debate took place on House Bill 312. The bill prohibits divisive concepts from K-12 classrooms, public universities, and state agencies.

“The divisive concepts, we tried to make them provable, and finite and factual,” said bill sponsor Rep. Ed Oliver, R-Dadeville.

The divisive concepts prohibited in Oliver’s bill are:

  • That one race, sex, or religion is inherently superior to another race, sex, or religion.
  • That this state or the United States is inherently racist or sexist.
  • That an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  • That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely on the basis of his or her race.
  • That members of one race should attempt to treat others differently solely on the basis of race.
  • That an individual’s moral character is determined solely on the basis of his or her race, sex, or religion.
  • That an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race, sex, or religion, bears responsibility for actions18 committed in the past by other members of the same race, sex, or religion.
  • That fault, blame, or bias should be assigned to a race, sex, or religion, or to members of a race, sex, or religion, solely on the basis of their race, sex, or religion.
  • That any individual should be asked to accept, 4 acknowledge, affirm, or assent to a sense of guilt, complicity, or a need to work harder solely on the basis of his or her race or sex.

“So kids can learn how to read and write and not have to worry about all of these other issues swirling around them,” said Oliver, “that, face it, in K-12 most of them don’t understand anyway.”

But some kids do understand, therefore Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Anniston, offered an amendment that reads “Nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit the teaching of topics or historical events in a historically accurate context.”

“You never know what’s actually in one’s heart who sits on that floor and who is not politically correct, who want to be,” said Boyd.

Boyd’s amendment was included on the final bill, which now heads to a Senate committee.

The legislative session will resume in two weeks.

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