Attorneys school Texas teachers on legal ways to implement 1619 Project
October 20, 2023
In Texas, it’s not just educators and administrators trying to circumvent laws.
Accuracy in Media’s latest hidden-camera investigation, which premiered Friday on Fox News, captured attorneys for a prominent Texas law firm telling teachers exactly how they can teach what they want without breaking the law, and how they can be immune from punishment for breaking the law if they play the game a certain way.
In the video, law firm Thompson & Horton LLP was giving a breakout presentation at the Texas Association of School Boards conference. There, they told Texas teachers that while teaching critical race theory and the New York Times’ 1619 Project are against the law statewide, there are ways to get around it.
“Thompson & Horton, if you all don’t know, is a law firm with offices in Dallas, Houston, and Austin,” said Oleg Nudelman, a partner at the firm. “All we do is school law. We represent school districts and colleges and universities throughout the state.”
Ashley L. White, a senior associate for Thompson & Horton, then tells teachers in attendance that Senate Bill 3 prohibits them from teaching the 1619 Project.
It “does prohibit a teacher or a school district from requiring an understanding of 1619 Project,” White said.
“However, it doesn’t prohibit a student from choosing to do an assignment on the 1619 Project. It doesn’t prohibit a teacher from having the 1619 Project, among a number of other books that these students could select from related to a project. It also doesn’t prohibit a teacher from assigning an article that might have a concept from the 1619 Project.
“So, for example, if they have an article that’s about, you know, the fact that every musical genre in America was kind of born from Black groups, that is a concept that comes from the 1619 Project, but that would still be allowed.”
The presentation then shifted to how teachers can be shielded from discipline for “inappropriate content” — as long as they’re teaching from state board education materials.
“So what that means is that teachers who use only materials from those state board-approved materials, they’re going to be immune from any sort of disciplinary proceedings that may allege that teacher violated any portion of the law.”
When they shifted to questions, the presenters further confirmed that teachers are able to teach these subject regardless of the law.
One attendee said, “Ironically, you could have copies of the 1619 Project in your library?”
“You, sir, you’re exactly right,” the presenter said. “What you cannot do with the 1619 Project is assign it as required reading. Because that would be arguably requiring an understanding of it, right?”
“So no matter what, we still have to keep in mind Senate Bill 3, but like we said, there’s very easy ways to take them to consideration and still continue to have those DEI efforts.”