Mar 26, 2024 - News

Little Rock teacher sues Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders over "indoctrination" ban

Illustration of a backpack with a "no" symbol keychain attached to it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

A Little Rock Central High School teacher, joined by three students and their parents, is suing Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders over a portion of the LEARNS Act that prohibits "indoctrination."

State of play: The plaintiffs argue the law violates the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution because "it impermissibly regulates classroom free speech on the basis of the speech content," the Arkansas Advocate reports.

  • The lawsuit, which also names state Education Secretary Jacob Oliva, calls the rule vague and oppressive.

What's inside: The section of the LEARNS Act in question bans critical race theory. It defines "prohibited indoctrination" as communication by a public school employee, representative or guest speaker that compels a person to adopt, affirm or profess an idea that people are inferior or superior based on protected classes like race and sex.

Reality check: Critical race theory is a college-level framework which holds that racism is baked into the formation of the nation and ingrained in our legal, financial and education systems.

  • It's seldom taught in public schools, especially grade schools.

What they're saying: "In the state of Arkansas, we will not indoctrinate our kids and teach them to hate America or each other. It's sad the radical left continues to lie and play political games with our kids' futures," Sanders said in response to the lawsuit, according to the Advocate.

Flashback: Arkansas banned high schools from giving credit for AP African American studies for this school year, saying state officials didn't know whether it satisfied the law because the pilot course was still in the works.

The latest: The state approved the updated AP African American studies course for next school year, the Advocate reported.

Go deeper: Teaching Black history a year after the "indoctrination" ban


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