Kansas State Senate Passes Education Censorship Bill

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KANSAS- Yesterday, the Kansas State Senate passed Senate Bill 496, an education censorship bill that attempts to erase and marginalize people of color, LGBTQ+ people and other oppressed voices in the classroom.

If the bill becomes law, parents could object to lesson plans and materials used in the classroom on the grounds that they are harmful to the child or “undermine the parent’s strongly held beliefs, values ​​or principles.” . Parents could also challenge any book, magazine or other resource available to students in the school library and request its removal.

All students, regardless of background, sexual orientation, or gender identity, deserve the freedom to learn: to develop the knowledge and skills needed to address our past, shape a better future, and pursue their dreams. The bill sanitizes information and truth in school curricula and fails to equip students with the critical thinking skills needed to succeed.

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow issued the following statement in response to the Kansas State Senate’s passage of SB 496:

“This bill is a nefarious attempt to exclude certain communities from school curricula and to erase essential parts of our history. Young adults deserve an education that reflects our diverse society and allows them to learn from the mistakes of our country’s past to help create a better future. Teachers want to provide students with an accurate, quality education and should not be pressured by politicians into teaching classes that change or suppress marginalized populations, including LGBTQ+ people. We need to create meaningful space for our teachers to teach and our students to learn.

Yesterday, the Kansas Senate also passed Senate Bill 484, a bill that would prevent transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, from elementary through college. The Kansas Senate passed Senate Bill 208, another ban on anti-trans sports, last week. Both bills are now in the House awaiting a hearing date.

The latest PRRI data shows that support for LGBTQ+ rights is on the rise in Kansas and across the country: 77% of Kansans support protections against discrimination and 57% of Kansans oppose denial of service on religious grounds. About eight in ten Americans (79%) support laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing. This reflects an 11% increase in the proportion of Americans who support anti-discrimination protections since 2015 (71%).

Ja Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are considered full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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