MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A divided state school board has cemented rules that ban critical race theory teachings from K-12 classrooms and limit how educators can talk about race in the classroom.
The decision drew sharp criticism from opponents who said the language could prevent honest conversations and lessons about history and race.
The Alabama State Board of Education voted 7-2 on Thursday to put the measure in the state administrative code, news outlets reported. It instructs schools to follow a previous resolution that bans “concepts that impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish to persons solely because of their race or sex.” It also bans theories that promote political ideologies or “one race or sex above another.”
Alabama Superintendent Eric Mackey said critical race theory is not currently taught in Alabama schools but board members wanted to take action that would be preventative.
“The key is to remember that what’s there now in our courses of study we feel very good about. What the board wanted to do was make some statement about the future too,” Mackey told WSFA.
A number of protestors spoke out against the measure before and during Thursday’s meeting.
“You are truly intellectual terrorists. That’s what you are. That’s what you are, and you will go down in history as traitors to children of all races,” activist Faya Rose Toure told the board after the vote, according to WSFA.
The Rev. Rayford Mack of Montgomery called the resolution an “anti-truth” measure, al.com reported.
“It is a dangerous step backwards that has emerged from a coordinated national effort to suppress our nation’s history and to deny the experience of Black people and other people of color,” he said.
Board members in August first approved the measure in August. It came as conservatives in several states made a rallying cry of trying to ban critical race theory — a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism. It is generally not taught in K-12 schools.