Randy Yohe Published

Public Speaks On ‘Anti-Stereotyping’ Act

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In a public hearing on House Bill 4011, more than two dozen people spoke against what’s known as the “anti-stereotyping act.” Two people voiced support.

The bill requires schools to publicly post training and instruction materials related to issues like nondiscrimination, race and sex. The bill also forbids schools from embracing stereotypes, and specifies that individuals should not be blamed, “for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, sex, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.”

Among those against the measure, historian Kaylen Barker said the bill whitewashes history.

“History is supposed to make us feel uncomfortable, supposed to elicit critical thinking and better understand the world we live in,” Barker said.

Kathy Ferguson fears the bill sends the state spiraling backwards.

“Our lack of diversity in business, economy and now education (are a) threat to the critical fabric of West Virginia,” she said.

5th grader Sage Blymer worried about her teacher getting in trouble or fired for teaching the history she loves to learn.

“Like how we treated people of color, women, LGBTQ people,” Blymer said, “I can feel sad about it but that doesn’t make me feel bad about who I am.”

Barry Holstein supports the bill. He said some West Virginia teachers’ lesson plans include radical recommendations from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Some materials teach students that people are divided into two groups, the oppressors and the oppressed, and that division occurs because of the color of one’s skin. ” he said.

The bill’s sponsor, Del. Chris Pritt, R-Kanawha, says HB 4011 allows the free teaching of history, but negates the radical ideas coming out of our universities.

“The idea that certain individuals are superior and certain individuals are inferior. We shouldn’t be teaching that in our schools, we need to be teaching equality,” he said.

The bill now goes to the House Judiciary committee.