Bill Summary for H 324 (2021)

Summary date: 

Aug 24 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 324 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 17, 2021
AN ACT TO DEMONSTRATE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S INTENT THAT STUDENTS, TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND OTHER SCHOOL EMPLOYEES RECOGNIZE THE EQUALITY AND RIGHTS OF ALL PERSONS AND TO PROHIBIT PUBLIC SCHOOL UNITS FROM PROMOTING CERTAIN CONCEPTS THAT ARE CONTRARY TO THAT INTENT.
Intro. by Saine, Boles, Yarborough, Torbett.

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Bill summary

Senate committee substitute amends the 4th edition as follows. 

Revises proposed GS 115C-81.61, which prohibits public school units from promoting seven specified belief concepts. Adds to the legislative intent of the statute, which provides for students and school employees to respect the dignity of others, acknowledge the right of others to express differing opinions, and foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and freedom of speech and association, to include that public schools of the State are to employ teaching methods and procedures that further the legislative intent. Revises the definition of promote to define the term more narrowly to only include compelling students, teachers, administrators, or other school employees to affirm or profess belief in the concepts described in the act; no longer includes (1) including described concepts in curricula, reading lists, seminars, workshops, trainings, or other educational or professional settings in a manner that could reasonably give rise to the appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement, or (2) contracting with, hiring, or otherwise engaging speakers, consultants, diversity trainers, and other persons for the purpose of advocating described concepts.

Makes the following changes to the enumerated concepts public school units are prohibiting from promoting, set forth in subsection (c). No longer qualifies the prohibited concept that an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, by explicitly including the concept whether consciously or unconsciously. Now includes the concept that a meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist (replacing the concept that the belief that the United States is a meritocracy is an inherently racist or sexist belief, or that the United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex). Adds the following five concepts to those public school units are prohibited from promoting: (1) that the United States government should be violently overthrown; (2) that particular character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs should be ascribed to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual's race or sex; (3) that the rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups; (4) that all Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and (5) that governments should deny to any person within the government's jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.

Adds a new subsection organized as subsection (d), requiring public school units to notify the Department of Public Instruction and make general information available on the public school unit's website, with detailed information upon request, at least 30 days prior to any of the following: (1) providing instruction regarding described concepts in curricula, reading lists, seminars, workshops, trainings, or other educational or professional settings; (2) contracting with, hiring, or otherwise engaging speakers, consultants, diversity trainers, and other persons for the purpose of discussing described concepts; and (3) contracting with, hiring, or otherwise engaging speakers, consultants, diversity trainers, and other persons who have previously advocated for the described concepts.

Enacts new subsection (e) to exempt from the statute's prohibition against promoting the 13 described concepts and the required notifications of new subsection (d): (1) speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; (2) using materials, as part of a course of instruction, curriculum, instructional program, or supplemental instruction, that include the history of an ethnic group, the impartial discussion of controversial aspects of history, the impartial instruction on the historical oppression of a particular group of people based on race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, or geographic region, or related historical documents permitted under GS 115C-47(29c); (3) accessing materials on an individual basis that advocate described concepts for the purpose of research or independent study; and (4) stating described concepts or assigning materials that incorporate concepts for educational purposes in contexts that make clear the public school unit does not sponsor, approve, or endorse such concepts or works (replaces previous subsection (d) of the proposed statute, which identified three actions not prohibited by the statute, now encompassed in subdivisions (1), (3), and (4) of this new subsection (e)). 

Revises the proposed new language in the following statutes to require charter schools, regional schools, and laboratory schools to comply with new GS 115C-81.61 in order to ensure (was, by ensuring) dignity and nondiscrimination at each school: GS 115C-218.85; GS 115C-238.66; and GS 116-239.8.

Changes the act's effective date to the date the act becomes law (was, July 1, 2021).

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