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Ohio introduces anti-grooming, critical race theory-banning bill

Ohio Reps. Loychik and Schmidt introduced a bill that would prohibit schools from teaching "divisive or inherently racist concepts," bans teaching young children about sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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On Tuesday, Ohio Reps. Mike Loychik and Jean Schmidt introduced a bill that would prohibit schools from teaching "divisive or inherently racist concepts," and in a similar fashion to Florida, bans teaching young children about sexual orientation or gender identity.

House Bill 616 states that no schools "that enrolls students who are participating in a state scholarship program" shall "Teach, use, or provide for use by any student any curriculum, instructional material, or assignment designed to promote or endorse divisive or inherently racist concepts."

These schools will also be prohibited from "offer[ing] training or professional development to employees that promote or endorse divisive or inherently racist concepts."

The legislation defines "divisive or inherently racist concepts" as encompassing critical race theory; intersectional theory; the 1619 project; diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes; inherited racial guilt; and any other concept that could be defined as divisive or inherently racist.

Mirroring Florida’s "Parental Rights in Education" bill signed into law last month, Ohio’s bill prohibits schools from teaching children in kindergarten through third grade about sexual orientation or gender identity.

In regards to grades four through high school, schools will not "teach, use, or provide any curriculum or instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity in any manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."

The bill requires that the state board establish procedures where individuals can file complaints against teachers, school administrators, or school district superintendents alleging violations of the bill.

If a complaint is filed, the state board will allow the teacher, administrator, or superintendent an opportunity for a hearing, and if a violation is found, "the department of education shall issue an adjudication order in accordance with section 119.06 of the Revised Code taking licensure action based upon the severity of the offense, including, but not limited to, an official licensure admonishment, licensure suspension, or licensure revocation."

If a school district is found in violation, "the department of education shall withhold funds from the district based upon the severity of the offense and time frame by which the district complies, which may include a tiered funding penalty, terms for restoration of those funds in the event of compliance, and any other procedures that the department determines are necessary to enforce the prohibitions described in divisions (B) and (C) of this section."

In response to the introduction of the bill, Loychik applauded the legislation as promoting "free and fair discussion."

"Children deserve a quality education that is fair, unbiased and age-appropriate," Loychik said. "This legislation promotes free and fair discussion."

Schmidt said the bill makes it clear that people are equal regardless of their skin color, race, sex, religion, or national origin.

"The classroom is a place that seeks answers for our children without political activism," Schmidt said. "Parents deserve and should be provided a say in what is taught to their children in schools. The intent of this bill is to provide them with the tools to be able to see what their child is being taught."

Ohio's bill would mark one of the first in the nation to closely mirror the recently passed "Parental Rights in Education" bill, which has quickly gained public opposition despite polls showing a majority of Americans supporting the legislation.

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