An Indiana state lawmaker who said teachers should be “impartial” when teaching about Nazism and fascism is backtracking after getting blowback for the remark.
During a hearing on a proposed state bill to prohibit “divisive concepts” in schools, GOP state Sen. Scott Baldwin said educators have gone “too far” by taking a position on Marxism, Nazism and fascism, the Washington Post reported.
“Marxism, Nazism, fascism … I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of those ’isms,’” said Baldwin, a co-writer of the bill, the Post reported, adding: “We need to be impartial.”
He stated that teachers should “just provide the facts” and that he’s “not sure it’s right for us to determine how that child should think, and that’s where I’m trying to provide the guardrails,” the Post reported.
A day later, in an email to the Indianapolis Star, Baldwin said his intention with the bill was to make sure teachers are being impartial when discussing and teaching “legitimate political groups.”
“When I was drafting this bill, my intent with regard to ‘political affiliation’ was to cover political parties within the legal American political system,” Baldwin wrote, according to the news outlet.
“In my comments during committee, I was thinking more about the big picture and trying to say that we should not tell kids what to think about politics.”
“Nazism, Marxism, and fascism are a stain on our world history and should be regarded as such, and I failed to adequately articulate that in my comments during the meeting. I believe that kids should learn about these horrible events in history so that we don’t experience them again in humanity,” he added, the news outlet reported.
The midwest chapter of the Anti-Defamation League slammed the apology, arguing it “doesn’t change the deep harms of using ‘impartiality’ or ‘neutrality’ as tools to sanitize history.”
The incident comes less than three months after a north Texas school official reportedly said classrooms with books on the Holocaust must offer “opposing” viewpoints.