An Indiana state senator backed down on his remarks that teachers must be impartial when discussing Nazism in classrooms after triggering a widespread backlash.
At a state Senate committee hearing last week on Senate Bill 167, a bill that would ban “concepts that divide,” Republican Senator Scott Baldwin, who co- wrote the bill, said that teachers should be free from prejudice when teaching lessons about fascism and Nazism.
“Marxism, Nazism, Fascism… I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of these“ isms, ”Baldwin said, adding,“ I think we’ve gone too far when we take a stand… We must be impartial. He went on to say that teachers should “only provide the facts” and that he is “not sure whether it is fair that we determine how this child should think and this is where I try to provide the facts. safeguards ”.
Baldwin has since retracted his remarks. In an email to the Indianapolis Star last Thursday, he said his intention with the bill was to ensure teachers are impartial when discussing and teaching “legitimate political groups.”
“When I drafted this bill, my intention with respect to ‘political affiliation’ was to cover political parties within the American legal political system,” Baldwin said. “In my comments to the committee, I thought more about the big picture and tried to say that we shouldn’t be telling children what to think about politics. “
He went on to denounce the aforementioned ideologies, stating: “Nazism, Marxism and Fascism are a stain on our world history and must be seen as such, and I have failed to adequately express it in my words. comments during the meeting. I believe that children should learn more about these horrific events in history so that we no longer experience them in humanity. “
SB 167 was tabled in recent weeks in response to the heated debates that have emerged in Indiana and the rest of the country over the past year regarding how schools should teach children about racism, history and other topics.
The bill prohibits preschools up to grade 12 from teaching students that “any gender, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation” is inherently superior, inferior, racist, sexist, oppressive . Teachers would also be prohibited from making individuals feel “unease, guilt, anguish, responsibility or any other form of psychological distress” when it comes to meritocracy and the idea that it has been. created by one group to oppress another.
The bill also prohibits teachers and educational programs from teaching that Indiana and the United States were founded as a racist or sexist state or nation.
The Midwestern Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League has critical Baldwin’s apology, saying it “does not change the profound wrongs of using” fairness “or” neutrality “as tools to clean up history.”
“This is part of the continuing efforts by some to try to rewrite history and characterize extremism, racism and genocide as somehow legitimate. It is dangerous and despicable. This should be categorically, universally and strongly rejected, ”the organization added.
The incident comes less than three months after a North Texas school official said classrooms with Holocaust books must offer “opposing” views.