I just finished teaching an adult class at Keene State College on the “divisive concepts” law when the N.H. Department of Education announced a website to report teachers who might run afoul of this new law. Shortly after, Moms for Liberty NH offered a bounty for the first person to report a teacher for violating “divisive concepts” that makes it illegal to teach that anyone is “inherently” racist, sexist or inherently guilty of any discrimination.
Gov. Chris Sununu signed this law, now titled “Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education,” as part of the New Hampshire budget. It did not pass either legislative house as a stand-alone bill and the governor said he would veto it. However, by putting it into the budget, the “divisive concepts” advocates found a loophole. The law is so vague it has a chilling effect as teachers present concepts of discrimination in our history.
Are there banned books? What if a child goes home having misunderstood an assignment or discussion? What if a child does not like a teacher or a grade?
What does this law say?
“That an individual, by virtue of his or her age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
The N.H. Department of Education has not responded to specific clarifying inquiries by organizations like National Education Association-NH. The N.H. American Federation of Teachers has called for the removal of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. The N.H. School Administrators Association has asked the governor to denounce the bounty system on public school educators.
There is a consequence for teachers.
“Violation of this section by an educator shall be considered a violation of the educator code of conduct that justifies disciplinary sanction by the state board of education.”
Does this mean that teachers can lose their licenses? If the teacher is found innocent of charges, does that get purged from their records?
I love the education focus of our state, and I am committed as a teacher and parent to education. I taught journalism for 32 years at Keene State College.
This war on our teachers must be stopped. What side are you on?
Tell your representatives that we are against this war on our teachers.