Ohio Republicans introduce bill that would ban teaching of sexual orientation in lower grades
(The Center Square) – Legislation introduced in the Ohio House would prohibit teachers from using curriculum on sexual orientation or gender identity in lower grades and require age- and…
(The Center Square) – Legislation introduced in the Ohio House would prohibit teachers from using curriculum on sexual orientation or gender identity in lower grades and require age- and development-appropriate lessons in higher grades.
House Bill 616 also would prohibit schools from using textbooks and curriculum that promotes or endorses divisive or racist concepts, the bill’s sponsors said.
“Children deserve a quality education that is fair, unbiased and age appropriate,” Rep. Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, said. “This legislation promotes free and fair discussion.”
Democrats denounced the legislation, calling it another attempt at censorship.
“Students can’t grow into well-rounded, educated adults ready to join a diverse, thriving workforce when the ability to think critically and the desire to recognize and celebrate each other’s differences has been banned in schools,” Rep. Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati, said. “These censorship bills all move Ohio in the wrong direction – backwards.”
The Ohio Education Association also condemned the bill.
“These politicians are continuing to use race and sexual orientation as wedge issues to score cheap political points, and they should be ashamed of themselves,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “House Bill 616 represents yet another example of how a national network of extremists is seeking to hijack the education conversation in our state to control a political narrative and distract Ohioans from the real issues facing our public schools.”
Co-sponsor Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, said the bill makes it clear everyone is equal, regardless of 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.”
The legislation would require the State Board of Education to develop a process to file complaints against teachers who parents believe violated the bill.
Teachers would be able to have a hearing, but if the state superintendent finds a complaint to be true, the Ohio Department of Education would be required to withhold funds based on the severity of the offense.
The bill has not been assigned to a committee.