Bill limiting free speech in the classroom passes both chambers

Senator Boris Miles debating
Sen. Borris Miles of Houston making points in opposition to HB 3979 on the Senate Floor Friday.

A bill we opposed, HB 3979 (Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands), which limits the free speech and ideas of teachers, students, and state agency employees, passed the Senate in an abrupt late-night session. The prohibitions in the bill are broad and may be interpreted in ways that could limit teacher speech and student engagement.

Texas AFT has strongly opposed this bill, and we are far from alone in our opposition. Scores of historians along with over 70 educational organizations, consisting of students, educators, and superintendents from across the state of Texas, opposed the bill. We want to thank the senators who stood up for teachers and against this disrespect to the teaching profession.

The bill returns to the House, where the chamber will decide whether to accept Senate amendments or head to a conference committee.