BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – State Rep. Ray Garofalo is aiming to keep opinions on race and sex out of the classroom with new legislation.
“Some students are being taught that because of the color of their skin they are better or worse than our other students. That to me is setting students up for failure,” Rep. Garofalo said.
House Bill 564 tackles what he calls “divisive concepts” such as racism and sexism on the individual and institutional level. It states it would promote inclusion and diversity by not insinuating any race or sex is inferior to another.
“Everybody involved in the education system in Louisiana is guarenteed a discrimination free environment,” Rep. Garofalo said. “That nobody is better than anybody else, that everybody’s equal. Just because of the color of your skin, or because of your national origin, or because of your sex you’re better than anybody else.”
It would also keep educators from suggesting Louisiana or the United States are systemically racist and Garofalo said he doesn’t believe they are. When asked if someone shares in schools they believe they have been treated unfairly by an institution based on race or sex, Garofalo said the bill should protect them from that.
“I don’t believe our education system is for that. I believe that our education system is to teach math, science, history and when you’re teaching history you teach factually based history,” Rep. Garofalo said. “You don’t pick a side. You don’t say because I believe this, the United States is a bad place.”
Opponents argue the proposal would be an infringement on free speech by limiting what educators can say to their students. Garofalo said the purpose of this bill is to uphold equality and to make sure both sides of an argument are presented.
“They can have discussions but the opinions should not be brought in. If they want to give some historical context to different events that have happened in history that’s fine,” Garofalo said.
The bill will head to the House Education Committee during the new legislative session which begins on Monday.