Republican CRT ban in New Hampshire schools challenged by teachers, parents in new federal lawsuit – Fox News


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New Hampshire teachers and parents filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the state’s new law banning the principles of critical race theory from classroom instruction – a legal challenge to similar legislation enacted by GOP leadership in several states. The state’s affiliate for the American Federation of Teachers and three teachers and two parents with students enrolled in the state’s public schools filed a lawsuit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. It names Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, Chair of the New Hampshire Commission on Human Rights Christian Kim and New Hampshire Attorney General John Fomella as defendants. OREGON UNIVERSITY STUDENT GOVERNMENT WANTS CRITICAL RACE THEORY GRADUATION ‘REQUIREMENT’The filing argues the law has a "chilling effect" on teachers and was designed to limit instruction of "ideas and societal concerns" that are not to the defendant’s liking, "thereby curtailing speech, limiting the free exchange of ideas within our classrooms and depriving New Hampshire students of their constitutionally and statutorily guaranteed right to an adequate education."
Chris Sununu, governor of New Hampshire, gestures as he speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.  
(Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)"The ‘culture wars’ have no place in New Hampshire’s classrooms," the lawsuit asserts. "Our public school teachers and support staff are dedicated public servants who have stepped up and devoted themselves beyond measure during the pandemic to continue to teach our children. "Yet, they are being politically targeted and threatened with public shaming and undeserved disciplinary proceedings (not to mention the cost of defending themselves) for doing their jobs in accordance with the curriculum formally adopted by the state." WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY?The lawsuit further maintains that "New Hampshire parents, too, are entitled to send their children to school, expecting a full and robust exchange of ideas in the classroom, uncorrupted by censorship and extremist partisanship" and teachers are subjected to online harassment, obscenities and vicious attacks amid "a climate of intimidation" facilitated by the defendants.TWO LIBERAL COLLEGES SET TO ENFORCE STRICTER MANDATES FOR VACCINE BOOSTERS, GATHERINGSIt comes in response to Republican Gov. Chris Sununu in June signing a new anti-discrimination law that prohibits instruction suggesting "one identified group possesses inherent characteristics, meaning natural, biological, or innate characteristics, as opposed to apparent or accidental characteristics, that make the superior or inferior to other identified groups or make one identified group racist, sexist or oppressive." The bill was initially referred to as the "divisive concepts" statute before that language was nixed in the GOP-led legislature sessions.
(Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)In response to the new lawsuit, Sununu has affirmed that "Nothing in this language prevents schools from teaching any aspect of American history, such as teaching about racism, sexism, or slavery." His spokesperson reiterated to Fox News Digital the law "simply ensures that children will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, sexual identity, or religion."America Federation of Teachers argues the law is so broad and ambiguous that the state attorney general and humans right commission have each had to clarify how it will be applied – yet, according to the filing, such guidance has "not resolved the issues and [is] nonbinding, putting educators in the difficult position of having to interpret several different directives." Fomella wrote in September regarding how the new law may be applied, explicitly clarifying that state programs can continue trainings on sensitivity and implicit bias because they are "based on the inherent humanity and equality of all persons." The guidance also said the law "does not prohibit discussion of historical concepts related to discrimination" of how it has existed through history. Fomella did not immediately return a Fox News Digital request for comment. The state Department of Education and Commission for Human Rights and Department of Justice have also issued guidance on the application of the law, clarifying that it does not prohibit "discussions related to current events including, but not limited to: the Black Lives Matter movement, efforts to promote equality and inclusion, or other contemporary events that impact certain identified groups."  Monday’s lawsuit also argues the legislation "invites partisanship into our schools and deputizes private, politically-motivated individuals to enforce its vague proscriptions." It references how "radical political groups" have seized upon the statute "to rationalize an offer of an economic ‘bounty’ for informers who lodge, on a recently created State-established and Department of Education maintained website, complaints about public school teachers." In a press release about the lawsuit, New Hampshire’s American Federation of Teachers pointed to a conservative group called Moms for Liberty NH, which recently tweeted that it was offering $500 for the first person who successfully catches a public school teacher breaking the anti-discrimination law. The tweet responded to another message from a libertarian account that shared a newspaper story about the state education department launching a new system to lodge discrimination complaints against teachers. That user wrote, "Public school teachers that teach critical race theory in New Hampshire will now lose their jobs." CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP"This law has created fear among teachers who are not actually violating any New Hampshire law, but fear they could be targeted without evidence by people with a political agenda," AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes said in a statement. "Educators are terrified of losing their teaching license over simply trying to teach. This is something I never thought would happen in America."  
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