A People-Driven Legislative Win for the Week

HB1231 failed in the House Education Committee Tuesday, Feb. 9 thanks to the People of Arkansans who called, wrote and petitioned legislators to vote against the bill.

Jack Clay, a senior student in the Bryant School District, spoke out against HB1231 during the meeting. “I felt like I needed to speak out against the bill because I knew that every perspective would be needed for the legislators to understand just how uniquely awful this Bill was.”

Both of Clay’s parents are teachers in the Bryant School District.

“Teachers disliked it because it took away their freedom to teach. Civil rights activists disliked it because it censors certain underrepresented historical perspectives. The Arkansas Department of Education disliked it because it stomps all over the process we have to determine what goes into curriculum. I, then, needed to show how much students disliked it because it entirely misses the point of social studies in schools.” 

After the People helped defeat HB1231, Rep. Lowery decided to pull down HB1218, which put restrictions on certain classroom instruction and academic clubs related to social justice.

Clay said he felt immense relief after hearing of the bill’s failure to pass committee.

“It gave me hope that speaking up and holding our legislators accountable really works, and it also gave me hope that people will stand up for the rights of students across the state,” he said.

A win for freedom of thought, freedom of speech, local control, Black history- and for the People of Arkansas.

HB1231’s failing is an example that Arkansas voices are essential to the legislative process.