GOP state lawmaker behind bill banning ‘controversial’ issues in schools lifted code of ethics from right-wing group: report

An Arizona GOP state lawmaker who recently introduced a bill that would ban teachers from discussing “controversial issues” in the classroom reportedly got the code of ethics from a right-wing group.

State Rep. Mark Finchem (R) introduced the legislation last month, and the Phoenix New Times reports that the nine points in his proposed code outlined in the bill are nearly identical to the code of ethics from the Stop K-12 Indoctrination campaign.

The Stop K-12 Indoctrination campaign is sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, whose founder is categorized by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as being anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim.

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The nine points in Finchem’s House Bill 2002 have slightly different wording from those outlined in the “Teacher Code of Ethics” published on the Stop K-12 Indoctrination website in June of 2017. But the meaning and message is largely the same.

Finchem’s bill would require teachers to undergo yearly ethics training and to follow the strict ethics code, which prohibits teachers from introducing a “controversial issue” unrelated to a class subject and advocating for or opposing any legislative, judicial or executive action. 

The Arizona Daily Star noted that in the bill, Finchem states that discussing political or ideological topics in school leads to “indoctrination.”

The Stop K-12 Indoctrination campaign does not hide that it wants lawmakers to consider using its talking points to introduce legislation.

“Legislators in a growing list of additional states are also working to enact similar legislative measures,” the campaign states on its website.

Finchem did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.