South Dakota Gov. Noem signs executive order restricting teaching Critical Race Theory in schools

South Dakota Gov. Noem signs executive order restricting teaching Critical Race Theory in schools

South Dakota Goernor. Kristi Noem (R) signed an executive order on Tuesday that restricts the teaching of critical race theory in Mount Rushmore State schools.

The executive order mandates that the Education Department does not “direct or compel” department personnel or students to “personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to inherently divisive concepts.”

It also directs the education secretary to find and end any policies, guidelines, websites, trainings, content standards and other materials that “promote inherently divisive concepts.”

“Our children will not be taught that they are racists or that they are victims, and they will not be compelled to feel responsible for the mistakes of their ancestors,” Noem said in a statement. “We will guarantee that our students learn America’s true and honest history — that includes both our triumphs and our mistakes.”

In her order, Noem described “inherently divisive concepts” as the ideas indicating that a “race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity or national origin” is superior to another and that a person should be discriminated against based solely on those factors.

The idea that a person is “racist, sexist or oppressive” based on their “race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity or national origin” was also among those concepts detailed by the order.

Jett Jonelis, advocacy manager at American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, said the governor’s order is “overly-broad” and its implementation could censor free speech and discussions about systemic racism.

“Students deserve to have a free and open exchange about our history — not one that erases the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of Black, Indigenous and other people of color. All young people deserve to learn an inclusive and complete history in schools, free from censorship like this,” Jonelis said in a statement.

MississippiTennessee and Texas are among the states that have signed bills restricting or banning critical race theory in schools.

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