I oppose HB 1134

Current Events & News | 02/15/2022

Dontia Dyson

I am a single father of four amazing children, two of whom attend public schools in Indiana. I oppose House Bill 1134.

I am a student of history and I believe in the power of teachers to change lives and help us evolve as a society. Mr. Hardiman was that educator for me.

I remember memorizing the Declaration of Independence in Mr. Hardiman’s class. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .”

Those are powerful words. Beyond just memorizing this text, I was impacted most by Mr. Hardiman pushing me to think about how those words have meaning today.

Thanks to Mr. Hardiman – and him pushing me to think critically – I’ve come to realize that the pursuit of truth and equality in our country is not a single destination, but part of an evolutionary process.

Racism. Bigotry. Hate – of all kinds. They are stains on our history. And unless we evolve as people, as students, we will allow history to repeat itself.

This is where our teachers come in. Teachers like Mr. Hardiman. The things I remember most from his classes were not the textbooks. It was the conversations he had with me and my classmates. I could tell when he would go a bit off-script – not because he was telling me what to think. He did this because he knew I needed to be challenged in ways the textbook did not.

We can’t entrust our children to schools eight hours a day and then tie the hands of teachers in how they address tough issues. How can we hold educators and schools to account if we have bills like this that make their jobs so much harder?

We live in an age of technology. And that’s great for students if we ensure they have leaders like teachers helping them know what information is helpful and rooted in truth. Our children will look for answers from somewhere, and I don’t want a YouTuber teaching my children. But that will happen if this bill is passed and teachers are fearful to talk about topics that we know our young people are thinking about and experiencing.

I hope our lawmakers keep Mr. Hardiman and the thousands of teachers like him in mind when they vote on this bill.


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