Classroom, Teacher, Desk, Arkansas, crt, critica race theory

Arkansas Stopped From Banning Two Teachers’ Critical Race Theory Lessons

A federal judge ruled against Arkansas's ban which prevented two teachers from educating students about critical race theory.

A federal judge has ruled against Arkansas’s ban on two high school teachers from teaching students about critical race theory (CRT).

U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky issued the preliminary ruling on Tuesday, May 7, which goes against one of the changes Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law last year: the prohibition of indoctrination or CRT. The judge’s ban cites the lack of clarity Arkansas’ ban outlined for critical race theory, AP reported.

Rudofsky’s 50-page ruling noted how the law doesn’t outright “prevent classroom instruction that teaches, uses, or refers to any theory, idea, or ideology.”

The ruling comes in response to two teachers and two students from the historic Little Rock Central High School who challenged the prohibition Huckabee Sanders signed into law. It fails to fully block the state’s ban on indoctrination in public schools. Still, it aims to “give comfort to teachers across the state (and to their students) that Section 16 does not prohibit teachers from teaching about, using, or referring to critical race theory or any other theory, ideology, or idea so long as the teachers do not compel their students to accept as valid such theory, ideology, or idea.” Rudofsky writes.

Teachers are still prevented from grading or judging students based on how they accept or reject a theory. Attorneys for the teachers and the state of Arkansas applauded the ruling and its implications for the future of the CRT ban.

“We are very happy that the court has acknowledged that the plaintiffs have brought colorable constitutional claims forward,” Mike Laux, an attorney for the teachers and students, said.

“With this notch in our belt, we look forward to prosecuting this incredibly important case going forward.”

Arkansas is one of several Republican-led states that have imposed restrictions on teaching about race in the classroom, including bans on critical race theory, an academic framework that race and racism are embedded in legal systems and policies. Little Rock Central High School gained national attention in September 1957 when nine African American students desegregated the school despite fierce opposition from the local community and state governor.