LANSING, Mich. (June 7, 2022) — Today, Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee Minority Vice Chair Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and fellow committee member Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) walked out of a committee hearing on House Bill 5097, which would ban the teaching of true and honest history based on race.

“I’m tired of white legislators like Rep. Beeler and Committee Chair Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) lecturing Black people that the United States is post-racial and that things like ‘privilege’ or ‘oppression’ based on race no longer exist,” Sen. Polehanki said. “Rep. Beeler’s bill is yet another in a long line of ‘happy history’ bills introduced by Republicans, which are designed to terrify teachers into avoiding any meaningful discussion about racial discrimination on pain of losing their jobs or causing school funding to be withheld.”

“House Bill 5097 is not a serious bill from a serious person, and to entertain it devalues our work here as legislators and as former educators,” Sen. Geiss said. “This bill does nothing to address the pressing issues we have in education policy while wasting time and stirring up the hysterical conspiracy theorists of their base.

“The reason we know this bill is remarkably not serious is that the language on page 2, lines 6-8 and repeated on page 3, lines 18-21 would prohibit the exact gender stereotyping of transgender students that their very own party has been promoting. While I’d love to applaud the representative for trying to protect transgender kids, doing so would be hollow since protecting transgender kids — like teaching the true history of America — was never the intent of his bill. The intent is an attempt at a gentler, more nuancedand ambiguous way to disrupt the ability of teachers to teach truth than Sen. Theis’ bill of a similar topic and is unworthy of consideration.”