The Indiana Senate Committee on Education and Career Development passed the House of Representatives bill 1134 by 8-5 votes, sending a bill restricting what is said in Indiana classes to the full Senate.
Voting took place along party lines, with the exception of Senator Jean Leasing of Oldenburg, who voted against with members of the Democrats.
Several amendments were proposed to the bill on Wednesday. Senator Linda Rogers, R-Granger, began with an amendment that repeals parental consent to mental health services provided to students in certain situations, such as crises or situations where a child may face parental violence.
Initial restrictions on the mental health bill were severely criticized when the bill was heard last week. The amendment was adopted by 8-5 votes.
The current bill is significantly weakened from the original, which would allow parents to sue school districts. The amended bill also reduced the number of “separating concepts” banned in classes in Indiana.
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The bill no longer requires schools to set up curriculum review committees, but still allows them to be created upon request. School districts should use a learning management system that parents have access to. Parents cannot give up lessons completely.
Other amendments were proposed by Democrats in committee and focused on several subjects, such as extended lessons in black history. Everything failed.
Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, who proposed an amendment that would require high school history courses to include expanded study of black history, said Indiana was responsible for teaching students good, bad, and ugly American history.
“My amendment was reasonable and simple and I am very disappointed that it did not pass. The fact that my colleagues turned down the opportunity to demand the teaching of black history in our schools during Black History Month says a lot. It is clear that whitewashing our history, despite the opposite, is the goal of legislation such as HB 1134, ”Melton said in a statement. “The adoption of this legislation was a mistake that would hinder our teachers and students, and I am sad to see that the members of this body support the bill, which not only moves our state back, but also harms future generations.”
No testimony was heard on Wednesday after a break last week, when only a small number of those who signed to testify were able to testify.
Senator Fadi Kadura, of Indianapolis, said in a statement that he opposed HB 1134 from day one. He said he and his colleagues made several amendments that were common sense, but they were all rejected.
“HB 1134 was conceived in a national and local political context that promotes the silencing of the voices of underrepresented communities in Indiana,” Kadura said.
The Indiana Teachers Association issued a statement after the committee passed the bill.
“The foundations of this bill remain based on a false story that teachers cannot be trusted,” ISTA President Keith Gambil said on Wednesday. “ISTA will continue to speak with the vast majority of Hoosiers to defeat this bill.”
The Senate withdrew a similar bill that required teachers to remain neutral on subjects such as Nazism.
Now the bill is in the Senate.