FARGO — A bill prohibiting critical race theory, which some state lawmakers called "Marxist poison," from public schools in North Dakota passed, getting the governor's signature last week.
The bill defines critical race theory as "the theory that racism is not merely the product of learned individual bias or prejudice, but that racism is systemically embedded in American society and the American legal system to facilitate racial inequality."
So how does this impact what's taught in the classroom?
North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirstin Baesler says it is up to the school boards.
If a teacher is found to be including the theory in their curriculum, any action taken is on the local level. The state does not issue penalties for teaching it.
"Local school boards will use this law and our state standards to determine what happens in the individual school districts," Baesler said.
WDAY News reached out to Fargo public schools, getting a statement from Superintendent Rupak Gandhi saying critical race theory is not part of their curriculum.
He adds that it's "being confused with diversity, equity and inclusion efforts."
Baesler is echoing this sentiment, saying schools can still teach racial diversity, equality and history. The new law does not force any known curriculum to change.
"Critical race theory is clearly defined in this bill, and it is a theory, it is a higher education academic theory, and to the best of my knowledge, that theory has not been in any of our school buildings," Baesler said.
Rep. Jim Kasper, the lawmaker who introduced the bill, declined comment, saying it's now in the hands of state schools.
If school boards find there is ambiguity on what critical race theory means, Baesler says the state will then create a group to define what it means.