No language from HB 1134 should pass

Current Events & News | 03/07/2022

Megan Poisel
Indiana Parent

I am the mother of two young sons who attend Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). They have had the good fortune to be part of a school district that is passionate about supporting and embracing its diverse population.  My sons’ classrooms reflect the diversity of the district – they are each one of only two or three white students in their classes of about 25.   

My sons are 7 and 8 years old, and each of them has been engaged in conversations at school around race, the history and pervasiveness of racism in our country, and other concepts that House Bill 1134 would have characterized as “prohibited,” “harmful,” or “restricted.”  My sons came through these lessons not only unharmed, but with more compassion and a better understanding of the kind of community they want to be a part of.  They came through these conversations with questions, yes, but many of their questions had an eye on the path forward. 

I was glad to see HB 1134 die and I hope that none of the language and none of the divisive concepts find their way into other bills.

Two years ago, with wide support from our community, the IPS Board of Commissioners put its Racial Equity Policy into action.  Most relevant to our conversation today, this policy ensures that all IPS staff has ready access to professional learning experiences around racial equity and that culturally relevant curricula is available for all students.   

My kids, along with their Black and Brown peers, benefitted directly from this policy because their teachers were equipped with the training and resources they needed to have compassionate, developmentally appropriate, supportive conversations around these difficult histories.  A commitment to racial equity, rather than House Bill 1134’s insistence on turning away from it, is what will create a safe and welcoming environment for all our children. 

Instead of binding our teachers, schools and school districts with punitive measures and litigious threats, we should be empowering them with the tools they need to do what they do best – meet the needs of their students, our children. 

The language inside House Bill 1134 is what I oppose. I don’t want to see the constraints of House Bill 1134 inserted into any other bill during the conference committee process. I believe the language of this bill would likely drive educators to leave the field, and Indiana is already struggling with a teacher shortage. 

 Email key lawmakers now and ask them to commit to opposing any conference committee report that includes the bad ideas from HB 1134.

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