Does South Carolina’s Education Bill Ban Teaching about The Holocaust?

Analyzing South Carolina's Budget Proviso 1.105.
Unsplash, Karsten Winegeart

South Carolina schools chief Molly Spearman has expressed concern about Budget Proviso 1.105, which acted as a temporary ban of critical race theory in schools, fearing that it would create a situation where teachers could not make students uncomfortable without losing their jobs. 

“Some events in our state, nation and world’s history will make students and educators alike feel uncomfortable,” Spearman said. “But that does not mean that they shouldn’t be taught and students shouldn’t have the opportunity to discuss it.”

So does Budget Proviso 1.105 ban teachers from teaching and discussing historical atrocities including, as Spearman cited, the Holocaust and Tiananmen Square?

Chalkboard Review staff reviewed the legislation and found:

Budget Proviso 1.105 bans state funds from being “used by any school district or school to provide instruction in, to teach, instruct, or train any administrator, teacher, staff member, or employee to adopt or believe, or to approve for use, make use of, or carry out standards, curricula, lesson plans, textbooks, instructional materials, or instructional practices” that affirm one of the following concepts:

“(1) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;”

“(2) an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;”

“(3) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his race or sex;”

“(4) an individual’s moral standing or worth is necessarily determined by his race or sex;”

“(5) an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;”

“(6) an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his race or sex;’

“(7) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race;”

“and (8) fault, blame, or bias should be assigned to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex.”

The legislation also notes that “nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any professional development training for teachers related to issues of addressing unconscious bias within the context of teaching certain literary or historical concepts or issues related to the impacts of historical or past discriminatory policies.”

No text in the proviso states that students cannot learn about historical tragedies like the Holocaust or Tianmen Square, nor does the proviso ban making students uncomfortable — provided that the discomfort isn’t related to the student’s moral standing as defined by their race or sex. 

Chalkboard Review Staff
The Chalkboard Review Staff often collaborate on Read the Bill and report articles to ensure multiple perspectives and founded data points are presented.

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