RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — How race and gender are taught in our schools continues to be a point of debate for lawmakers.

House Bill 187, a revived version of a bill that was vetoed in 2021, limits how topics related to historical racism or sexism can be taught.

“This bill protects whatever group that is from soiling the minds of kids with thoughts that don’t collectively bring us together,” Rep. John A. Torbett (R-District 108), told fellow lawmakers Tuesday during a House Education Committee hearing.

Torbett, who is sponsoring the bill, says it wouldn’t change the state’s history standards.

“This great education state must have an educational system that unites and teaches our children, not divides and indoctrinates them,” said Torbett.

The bill would restrict schools from teaching 13 different concepts. Some of those include:

  • An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive.
  • An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
  • Any individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress.
  • The United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex.
  • 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.

Rep. Julie von Haefen (D-District 36) told CBS 17 she was just in a classroom where topics about women’s history and slave rebellions were discussed. She says the teacher in that situation worried about the proposed bill’s passage.

“He said part of the reason I teach my kids this way is to these encourage conversations and if this bill passes, I don’t know if I’lll be able to have these conversations with my kids,” said von Haefen.

The bill’s language doesn’t include potential repercussions for teachers in violation. Not having that process laid out within the bill is something of concern for von Haefen.

“Is their salary going to be docked or something if they do this? There’s just a lot unknowns and this bill is very vague,” she said.

Rep. David Willis (R-District 68), a co-sponsor of the bill, said the bill isn’t about hiding the ugly parts of the country’s history. He wants teachers to leave their personal points of view about that history at the door.

“We’re asking not to politicize this but to politicize it. We want all politics, all of this stuff, nonsense, out of the classroom,” said Willis.