North Carolina county says teachers can now be punished for 'undermining' America's 'foundational documents': report
Originally entitled Yankee Doodle, this is one of several versions of a scene painted by A.M. Willard in the late nineteenth century that came to be known as The Spirit of '76. (Wikimedia Commons)

On Friday, WRAL reported that a North Carolina county has passed a new code of ethics that would, among other things, effectively prohibit local teachers from discussing systemic racism in class.

"The Johnston County Board of Commissioners said over the summer that they would not approve the school board's funding until it would 'adopt policies that eliminate the possibility of divisive teaching topics.' Until then, the commissioners hung the up to $79 million in funding over the board of educations' head," reported Maggie Brown. "'No student or staff member shall be subjected to the notion that racism is a permanent component of American life,' the revised code of conduct says. 'No unequal value shall be placed on any race, gender, religion, ethnicity, social class, or any other identity group.'"

Also stated by the code of ethics: "No employee of Johnston County Schools will make any attempt to discredit the efforts made by all people using foundational documents for reform."

The rules come down after a summer in which right-wing activists raised a panic about "critical race theory" being taught in schools — a theory of society that explores systemic racism built into U.S. institutions, but which is not actually taught in most public schools.

A Tennessee school system is also currently facing controversy as a group calling itself "Moms for Liberty" is demanding several books be removed from lessons, including on Martin Luther King, Galileo, and seahorses.