MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — A new bill passed by the Alabama House of Representatives would stop “divisive concepts” from being discussed in the state’s public schools.

The “divisive concepts” listed as prohibited in the bill, HB312, include:

  • That a person’s race, sex, or religion is superior to another person’s
  • That the State of Alabama or United States of America is inherently racist or sexist
  • That a person, based on their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive (either unconsciously or consciously)
  • That a person should be discriminated against based on their race
  • That members of one race should try to treat others differently based on their race
  • That a person’s character is based solely on their race, sex, or religion
  • That a person bears responsibility for the actions of the past members of their race, sex, or religion
  • That fault or bias should be placed on a certain race, sex, or religion, or its members, solely based on their race, sex, or religion
  • That people should be asked to accept or acknowledge guilt or complicity based on their sex or race

These two concepts, below, were struck from the final House bill before passage:

  • That traits like a hard work ethic or meritocracy is racist or sexist
  • That slavery or racism are anything other than deviations or failures of the founding principles of the United States

The bill applies to all school districts, public K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and all constitutionally created boards of trustees in Alabama.

HB312 says it does not require a student, teacher, administrator, trainee, or other employee to participate in any sort of classroom activity that compels them to accept a “divisive concept.”

According to the bill, no state agency or school can teach employees or contractors to adopt one of the concepts listed above. Higher education employees are allowed to teach about doctrines pertaining to a “divisive concept,” as long as they don’t ask the students to accept it.

Additionally, the following rules apply for employees, contractors, teachers, staff members, students, and trainers:

  • None of the above groups can be penalized for refusing to support, believe, endorse, embrace, confess, act upon, or assent to a “divisive concept”
  • None of the above groups should feel compelled by any policy to share their personal point of view controversial issues of public policy or social affairs
  • None of the above groups can accept a federal grant or funding if it is granted for the training or assent of a “divisive concept”
  • None of the above groups can accept public funding for curriculum development, purchase, teacher training, professional development, or choice of materials that requires them to adhere to a “divisive concept”
  • None of the above groups can do any of the following:
    • Promote or teach K-12 public school students a “divisive concept”
    • Compel higher education students to accept a “divisive concept”
    • Require students or trainees to participate in a practicum, project, or activity that involves lobbying for legislation at any level that involves social or public policy that involves a “divisive concept”

The bill requires “fair and equal treatment” in a state workplace. Heads of each agency are required to stop employees or hired contractors, while on duty, from promoting “divisive concepts.” In addition, diversity efforts are not allowed to encourage employees to judge each other on their race, ethnicity, sex, religion, or other characteristic protected by federal law.

The bill states it does not stop these agencies or contractors from promoting diversity, as long as it doesn’t go against the “divisive concepts” listed in the legislation. It also states that it does not intend to stop the instruction of “divisive concepts” at public, higher education institutions, as long as that discussion is objective.

According to the legislation, “nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit the teaching of topics or historical events in a historically accurate context.”

HB312 says if the rules of the bill are broken, agencies are allowed to discipline or terminate an employee or contractor.

Updated at 10:45 a.m., March 18, to update concepts struck from the final bill.