Statement on House Bill 616
April 6, 2022 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Honesty for Ohio Education Condemns House Bill 616, Calls for Legislators to Denounce Harmful Anti-Child Censorship Bill that Perpetuates Racism, Homophobia, and Transphobia
COLUMBUS — Cynthia Peeples, founding director of Honesty for Ohio Education, released this statement in response to the introduction of House Bill 616.
“House Bill 616 is another shameful attempt by Ohio legislators to attack honesty in education by using classrooms as a political battleground to foment racism, homophobia, and transphobia. In combining the worst aspects of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill with Ohio’s harmful “Divisive Concept” bills, Reps. Loychik and Schmidt have demonstrated that they do not care about honest education or the welfare of Ohio students.
“Rather than cultivating learning environments that prioritize an honest, high-quality education and celebrate the unique identities and rich experiences that each student brings into the classroom, these legislators are importing harmful copycat legislation that censors education, whitewashes our history, and forces LGBTQ+ students, families, and educators back into the closet. These attacks are particularly harmful to LGBTQ+ students of color, who are often the most vulnerable in our communities and need to be affirmed, not attacked.
“Racist and homophobic educational gag orders have no place in Ohio and censor our students’ freedom to learn. Their vague prohibitions, linked to very real licensure and financial penalties, are designed to have a chilling effect on honest teaching and authentic discussions in the classroom.
“HB 616 and similar bills, like HB 327, are a direct attack against Ohio students, families, and educators. Instead of peddling dishonest, anti-child political agendas, Ohio legislators must prioritize honesty, student well-being, and academic achievement.”
The Honesty for Ohio Education coalition represents more than 30 organizational partners and hundreds of students, educators, and individuals from around the state to advocate for every child’s right to a high-quality public education grounded in honesty, facts, and diverse perspectives, regardless of race, background or zip code.