COLUMBIA, S.C. – ACLU of South Carolina Executive Director Jace Woodrum issued the following statement following today’s Senate Education Committee vote to advance H. 3728:

“Today lawmakers advanced a bill that censors classrooms, disregards the expertise of public school educators, and denies students the opportunity to learn about our history and about the current events that will impact their futures.

Legislators seem determined to ignore the opinions of educators in this debate. Rather than heed the request of teachers and librarians who have vocally opposed this bill, they have chosen to pander to an extremist minority of South Carolinians who believe their views are the only ones that children should hear.

Every version of this bill carries with it a chilling effect: educators will be so afraid of complaints and attacks from parents that they will be forced to censor discussions in the classroom, take books off library shelves, and stifle critical thinking.

Under this bill, can teachers talk about slavery and Jim Crow Laws? Can librarians lend books about the Holocaust and Nazi Germany? Can students discuss in their classrooms the horrific tragedy at Mother Emanuel?

We urge the Senate to see this bill for what it is: a blatant attempt to censor the teaching of accurate and inclusive histories, to ban books that support the development of critical thinking skills in students, and to subject educators to undue scrutiny of their work.”