Va. House delegates pass ban on ‘divisive concepts’ from being taught in schools

The debate around critical race theory in Virginia’s education system is heating up as lawmakers passed a ban on what they consider “divisive concepts” from being taught in public schools.

The bill, sponsored by Republican state Del. Dave LaRock of Loudoun County, passed the GOP-led House of Delegates 50-49, and was unanimously rejected by Democrats.

House Bill 787 would make it unlawful to teach students that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another” or that someone is “inherently” racist because of the group they come from, or that an individual is responsible for the “actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”

It would also make it unlawful to teach that “an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment” because of their race or sex.

In one of his first acts in office, Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a similar executive order banning “divisive concepts,” including critical race theory, from Virginia public schools.

Democrats and the Virginia Department of Education have insisted that CRT isn’t being taught in schools. Critical race theory is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism.

Democratic Del. Sally Hudson, reacting to the passage of this bill on Twitter, wrote “There’s so much good work we could be doing to support students, staff and teachers, to renovate our schools. Instead we’re fighting culture war phantoms.”

But critics point to incidents of what they say is CRT seeping into classroom lessons and teacher training materials. Earlier this year, the Fairfax County Public Schools system apologized after a teacher at Oakton High School had students play “privilege bingo” using a card titled “Identifying Your Privilege” as part of a lesson plan. 

The bill is likely to die in the Democratic-led state senate, which already voted down similar legislation.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin joined WTOP in 2021 as an anchor/reporter covering breaking news in the D.C. region. She has loved radio since she was a child and is thrilled to now be part of Washington’s top radio news station.

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