Dear WV Legislators: Censoring History Spawns Injustice; Dialogue Fosters Equity

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Dear WV Legislators: Censoring History Spawns Injustice; Dialogue Fosters Equity

This petition had 315 supporters
West Virginia Coalition for Truth in History started this petition to West Virginia State Legislators

Dear West Virginia Legislators,

We demand equity in education! During the 2021 WV Legislative Session, three nearly identical bills were introduced seeking to prohibit “the teaching of ‘divisive acts’ and ‘critical race theory’ in West Virginia schools” and further prohibiting “‘divisive concepts’ from schools, state agencies and any groups receiving state funding.” These bills went nowhere.

Similar bills are being introduced in the 2022 Legislative Session. HB 4011, which was voted out of committee on Friday, February 4, effectively seeks to erase the teaching of the truth about our history. It puts an undue burden on our teachers by requiring them to display everything they are teaching, which opens the door for continuous grievance from parents who may feel uncomfortable or want to keep their children from knowing our full history. If this bill becomes law, teachers will be subject to teach according to the whims of parental ideologies. Our teachers are trained professional educators and need to be allowed to function as such without fear of reprisal. This bill would allow parents far too much reach into public classrooms and would legalize the intimidation of teachers who seek to prepare our children for a successful future. 

Kindred bills introduced so far during this session include SB 45, SB 182, and HB 2925; they seek to ban conversations about race, gender, and sexuality. If these bills become law, we will all suffer the consequences. Removing the teaching of the history of indigenous people, people of color, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ people will leave our students ill equipped to reckon with the racial realities of our world. 

We are deeply concerned about the mass exodus from teaching that this bill will undoubtedly create if it becomes law. The incredible burden this legislation would place on already overworked and exhausted teachers, during a teacher shortage, will result in more and more educators being forced out of the profession. What will we do when there is no one left to educate our children? We should be doing all we can to bring teachers into our state, not force them out. 

Do not advance House Bill 4011, or any of the similarly dangerous bills that have been introduced. Keep our schools safe for truthful teaching, and respect our educators. That way, we can move forward in our work toward an equitable and more perfect Union with its promises of justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, general welfare, and the blessing of liberty for all.

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