COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN)--Leaders in the Columbus City School district have come out in opposition to a proposal at the Ohio statehouse regulating the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity to younger grade levels, as well as other "divisive concepts".
The letter released Tuesday is signed by Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon, CCS Board President Jennifer Adair, Columbus Education Association President John Coneglio, Columbus School Employees Association President Lois Carson, Columbus School Classified Supervisors Association President Bryan Welcome, and Columbus Administrators Association President Kimberly Rodriguez.
CCS leaders say Ohio House Bill 616 would jeopardize the safety of LGBTQIA+ students and staff, and prohibit culturally responsive lessons.
They add the legislation, "perpetuates hate, encourages intolerance in adults, and has no place in public education."
Ohio House Bill 616, proposed by Republican State Representatives mike Loychik and Jean Schmidt, would ban the instruction and distribution of material regarding sexual orientation and gender identity to grades K through 3, but not ban it's discussion.
The bill would also ban the teaching of "divisive concepts" set by the Ohio Department of Education, including Critical Race Theory.
CCS administrators, in their letter, say "Critical Race Theory (CRT) is not taught in Columbus City Schools or anywhere in Ohio’s K-12 education system. We teach U.S. History and the understanding of oneself as part of a community so that students of all backgrounds can see themselves in their work and develop a vision for their future."
The discussion gained traction after similar legislation was passed and signed into law in Florida, called the "Parental Rights in Education" bill. Critics call it the "Don't Say Gay" bill.