In response to state lawmakers’ inquiries, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita today released an official advisory opinion categorizing Black Lives Matter (BLM) as a political organization that public schools should treat the same as other such groups.
“Black Lives Matter is unequivocally a political organization,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Promoting or displaying some politically based materials while prohibiting the promotion or display of others could create a liability for schools and could violate the First Amendment.”
By adopting neutral policies regarding the display of signs and other materials, Attorney General Rokita states in the advisory opinion, educational leaders can help “ensure the focus remains on the mission of our schools — educating our children.”
Attorney General Rokita produced the advisory opinion in response to a request from two state legislators — Sen. John Crane, R-Brownsburg, and Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland.
“I appreciate the Attorney General issuing this opinion regarding the Black Lives Matter movement,” Sen. Crane said. “At a time when too much of a student’s educational experience has been politicized, this opinion provides needed clarity about the underpinnings of the BLM movement, as well as reinforcing the importance of fair-minded presentations of all subject matter in our school classrooms. Our children in Indiana deserve a high-quality education that inspires their critical thinking in the pursuit of a society that truly dignifies all people.”
Rep. Davis also expressed agreement with Attorney General Rokita’s guidance.
“Everyone should be treated equally and with respect,” she said. “However, the political activism and controversial ideology of this group is dividing communities rather than uniting them. While schools should provide a well-rounded education that includes differing views and perspectives, it’s not their role to persuade students to believe in one ideology over another.”