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State senators decide 'no path forward' on controversial school bill

SB 167 was one of several bills introduced in this year's legislative session over debate on critical race theory.

INDIANAPOLIS — One controversial bill that was being debated in the Indiana General Assembly will now no longer be considered.

SB 167, dubbed "education matters," was one of several bills introduced in response to debate over critical race theory. The bill aimed to allow for more parental review of teaching materials. It would have required more parental consent for certain activities.

The bill prohibits K-12 schools from requiring a student or employee of the school corporation to "engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of racial or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation."

While the language of the bill does not directly name it, the "blame" portion of SB 167 would likely prohibit schools from teaching concepts like white privilege or white fragility in schools.

"Members of the Senate continued to work on Senate Bill 167, but have determined there is no path forward for it and it will not be considered," said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray Friday.

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Two other similar bills, introduced in the House, are still being considered. HB 1134 and HB 1040 also address curriculum transparency. HB 1134 passed a House committee Wednesday, despite pushback from some teachers, saying they should be trusted to teach responsibly.

"There are some situations around the state that parents get upset because their voice, they feel like it's not being heard," said Monroe County science teacher Paul Farmer. "I get that. But there are ways that they can do that locally. We don't have to have a state law that micromanages every detail of educational life."

It's unclear if the Senate would also reject the two House bills, given Friday's decision on SB 167.

MORE: Bills impacting education in this year's legislative session