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Where Things Stand: There’s Now A Bounty On Teachers Who Dare To Touch Race Issues In Classroom

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People talk before the start of a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. - "Are you ready to take back our s... People talk before the start of a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. - "Are you ready to take back our schools?" Republican activist Patti Menders shouted at a rally opposing anti-racism teaching that critics like her say trains white children to see themselves as "oppressors." "Yes!", answered in unison the hundreds of demonstrators gathered this weekend near Washington to fight against "critical race theory," the latest battleground of America's ongoing culture wars. The term "critical race theory" defines a strand of thought that appeared in American law schools in the late 1970s and which looks at racism as a system, enabled by laws and institutions, rather than at the level of individual prejudices. But critics use it as a catch-all phrase that attacks teachers' efforts to confront dark episodes in American history, including slavery and segregation, as well as to tackle racist stereotypes. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
November 16, 2021 6:45 p.m.
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The far-right’s push to make America the Wild West again continues.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed a bill into law this summer that is, essentially, the legal manifestation of right-wing efforts to intimidate educators away from teaching students about issues like systemic racism and modern racial tensions in public schools. After the law passed, the New Hampshire Department Of Education launched a new website for parents and students to file complaints against teachers for alleged discriminatory curriculum, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

The website has been in place since shortly after the bill was signed into law. But a prominent right-wing mothers group recently upped the ante.

The New Hampshire chapter of the conservative group Moms For Liberty recently tweeted out a statement, encouraging people to use the state tool to report teachers and even offered a bounty to the first person to lodge a successful complaints against an educator. And it comes at a time when certain Lone Star State citizens are being offered something similar — cash rewards for snitching on anyone involved in the process of getting an abortion post-six weeks of pregnancy.

“We’ve got $500 for the person that first successfully catches a public school teacher breaking this law,” Moms for Liberty’s New Hampshire chapter tweeted a few days ago. “Students, parents, teachers, school staff… We want to know! We will pledge anonymity if you want.”

The New Hampshire state legislature passed House Bill 2, the Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education, earlier this year and Sununu signed it into law in June. The bill text says the law “prohibits the dissemination of certain divisive concepts related to sex and race in state contracts, grants, and training programs.” It goes on to describe “divisive concepts” as a number of different things, including ideas like New Hampshire or the United States being “fundamentally racist or sexist” or anything that indicates “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” The passage of the New Hampshire law was part of a broader trend that’s been playing out in red states as Republicans fear-monger about the academic framework called Critical Race Theory, manufacturing outrage about the concept for the better part of the past year.

It’s a theme we’ve been covering for some time, especially as GOP-fueled outrage over the issue plays out at the local level, from chaotic protests at school board meetings to threats against teachers. The DOJ even recently launched a new commission aimed at helping local law enforcement report and investigate violent threats against school personnel over Critical Race Theory and COVID-19 mitigation policies.

The New Hampshire Department of Education describes the law as an attempt to encourage teachers to teach students to “treat all of those with whom they may come into contact equally and with dignity and respect.” It’s a buzzword-y spin on a law that’s really dripping with undertones of GOP talking points and nativist rhetoric.

And the New Hampshire moms, for one, are bravely taking it upon themselves to enforce it.

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