COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The debate over critical race theory has reached the Ohio Statehouse.

A committee held hearings Tuesday on House Bill 322, which would prohibit critical race theory in Ohio’s K-12 curriculum. As introduced by Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport), the bill would ban the teaching of these concepts:

  • One race or sex is inherently superior to another
  • An individual is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously
  • An individual should be discriminated against because of their race
  • An individual’s moral standing or worth is necessarily determined by race or sex
  • An individual bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex
  • The advent of slavery constituted the true founding of the United States
  • That slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of or failures to live up to the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality

“Critical race theory is a dangerous and flat-out wrong theory,” Jones said. “It is designed to look at everything from a ‘race first’ lens, which is the very definition of racism. CRT claiming to fight racism is laughable. Students should not be asked to ‘examine their whiteness’ or ‘check their privilege.’ This anti-American doctrine has no place in Ohio’s schools.”

Critical race theory, which examines the effects of race and racism on a society, is not a new concept, but in recent months, it has become a growing issue among Republicans, especially since The New York Times’ “1619 Project” marked the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of slaves in the colonial Virginia and emphasized that its impact on American society has been underemphasized.

Florida and Tennessee are among the states that have made moves recently to ban the teaching of critical race theory.

During the hearing of the State and Local Government Committee, Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) expressed concern that if systemic racism isn’t talked about in schools then students may never be exposed to these concepts.

And the Ohio Education Association denounced the bill, as well as House Bill 327 — a similar measure that would prohibit the teaching, advocating or promoting divisive concepts in schools — which also received a hearing Tuesday.

“For our children to thrive and become critical thinkers, we must trust Ohio’s dedicated educators to have age-appropriate conversations about the tough subjects, as they do every day in their classrooms now,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said.