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Tennessee Gov. Lee signs bill banning critical race theory in schools into law

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Classroom (WCYB Photo)

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed a bill banning critical race theory in schools into law.

Earlier this year, Tennessee lawmakers passed HB 0580/SB 0623 that would withhold funding from schools when students are taught about topics like systemic racism and white privilege.

Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill Monday afternoon.

“The Governor signed the bill and believes Tennessee students should be taught history and civics with facts, not divisive political commentary.” – Spokesperson for Governor Lee

The measure outlines over a dozen "concepts" that can't be taught in schools. A last minute addition to the critical race theory bill would ban schools from teaching students that “the rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups.”

The move has garnered backlash from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

“We are very troubled by Governor Lee’s censorship of discussions of race in the classroom. With the stroke of a pen, the governor has silenced constructive dialogue that would educate individuals on the discrimination and systemic barriers that people of color still face in this country – including long-term inequalities in educational outcomes, incarceration rates, economic advancement and health outcomes – as well as ways we can move forward together. The governor appears to have amnesia about his own words: ‘history without understanding is quickly forgotten.’ While the governor may seek to whitewash history by signing this bill, we will not only remember the painful legacy our state is built on, but his lack of leadership today.” - ACLU-TN

Tennessee passes bill to withhold funding for schools teaching about systemic racism

While Critical Race Theory is now banned in Tennessee schools, some parents say it’s still happening in Williamson County, disguised under different names.

Kim Klacik, former congressional nominee and president of Red Renaissance, says she believes critical race theory “is a conspiracy.”

“It has nothing to do with the color of your skin because fortunately, we live in a country where you have the most opportunities ever,” said Klacik to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “I don't understand why taking this dive in the other direction to make people feel less confident and inferior, because we know when you push that message. People don't become the potential person that they could possibly be.”

READ MORE: Tennessee bans critical race theory in schools: 'Get back to the basics,' says Klacik

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