Judge rules partially in favor of plaintiffs against Arkansas LEARNS Act, also prohibits blocking part of the law

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A lawsuit filed by Central High School teachers and students regarding the LEARNS Act has been given a ruling, partially in their favor.

In a 50-page ruling, a federal judge said topics like critical race theory cannot be banned from teachers’ lessons.

This is important because of the executive order Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed on her first day in office banning indoctrination, with topics like critical race theory at the forefront of discussion.

The state used section 16 of the LEARNS Act as part of its decision last year not to count pilot AP African American studies courses toward state graduation requirements.

State attorneys have argued the law isn’t to prohibit certain topics or ideas, but rather to prevent teachers from forcing indoctrination on a student or punishing them for not accepting those ideas.

The lawsuit claims that section is too vague and violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.

“This ruling finally provides some clarity and some comfort that they can teach how they’ve been teaching successfully and do it without fear of losing their teaching license,” attorney Maya Brodziak said. “I think the same goes for our students.”

While the suit is partially good news for the plaintiffs, the judge also denied part of the lawsuit on their side looking to block a section of the Arkansas LEARNS Act.

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office released a statement after the ruling:

 “Today’s decision confirms what I’ve said all along. Arkansas law doesn’t prohibit teaching the history of segregation, the civil rights movement, or slavery. I’m pleased that the District Court entirely rejected the      Plaintiffs’ vagueness claims. And the very limited injunction merely prohibits doing what Arkansas was never doing in the first place. I look forward to continuing our enforcement of the statute as written rather than as Plaintiffs would choose to wrongly interpret it.”

The full order can be read at ArkansasAG.gov.

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