Tennessee school districts that teach race could be fined up to $1M

Teachers who knowingly violate the new law could have their licenses suspended or revoked.

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Public school teachers in Tennessee face hefty fines if any part of their curriculum teaches about race — specifically critical race theory. 

A newly proposed guidance released by the state’s Department of Education last week details potential penalties for educators and schools that deliberately violate a recently passed law banning CTR in the classroom, as reported by mic.com.

Per the rules issued by the DOE:

If the Department determines that the LEA [“local education agency”] or public charter school knowingly violated Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1019, the Department shall withhold the payment of state funds scheduled to be distributed to the LEA or public charter school until the requirements of the corrective action plan have been met.

According to the report, teachers who knowingly violate the new law could have their licenses suspended or revoked. School districts, meanwhile, could be hit with fines starting at $1M, rising to $5M each time a teacher knowingly initiates classroom discussions about systemic racism, white privilege, and sexism.

classroom desks
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

As theGRIO previously reported, in many states and local school districts across our nation, elected officials have abandoned their focus on student success and instead found a new political enemy in education to chase — the truth about our nation’s history.

For the past few months, the news has been filled with stories about the rising concerns by those on the political right regarding critical race theory. Critical race theory has been portrayed as being an attack on our nation and attempts by those on the far political left to indoctrinate children.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz called it “poison that is being poured into the minds of our kids” on a Fox News interview.

In Tennessee, Republican lawmakers passed legislation to ban the teaching of critical race theory. They collectively wrote an editorial for the Tennessean where they proclaimed CRT as a “dangerous theory” that endangered every child in the state.

They closed their editorial by stating “In Tennessee, we believe in the truth. We believe in equality of opportunity. We are proud of our history.”

Per the DOE, below are the subjects and concepts Tennessee lawmakers take issue with:

a. One (1) race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;

b. An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously;

c. An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of the individual’s race or sex;

d. An individual’s moral character is determined by the individual’s race or sex;

e. An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;

f. An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex;

g. A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist, or designed by a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race or sex;

h. This state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist;

i. Promoting or advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government;

j. Promoting division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class, or class of people;

k. Ascribing character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual’s race or sex;

l. The rule of law does not exist, but instead is series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups;

m. 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; or

n. Governments should deny to any person within the government’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.

Tennessee is one of 11 states that have this year opted to whitewash the teaching of American history in the classroom.  

“There’s also a fear for young students of color who are in districts that are majority white and now there’s no protection for them and their white student peers in learning about truthful history and racism,” Cardell Orrin, executive director of Stand for Children Tennessee, which advocates for disenfranchised students told Education Week.

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