Virginia Democrats have rejected a new bill that would require schools to teach about the dangers of communism after the state’s largest teachers union said the curriculum could encourage anti-Asian sentiments.
The bill, HB 1816, which was proposed by Del. John Avoli last month, would have also tasked Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin to issue a proclamation that would designate Nov. 7 as Victims of Communism Day.
The holiday would have been observed in public elementary and secondary schools in Virginia to honor “the approximately 100 million individuals who have fallen victim to communist regimes around the world and to be suitably observed by a public exercise in the Capitol and elsewhere as the Governor may designate in such proclamation.”
Emily Yen, a research coordinator for the Virginia Education Association, said her union opposed the bill because four out of the five current communist regimes are in Asian countries, including China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam.
“We are concerned that this bill would subject Asian-American students to anti-Asian sentiments,” Yen said.
The union also argued that the current curriculum already teaches communism and its history.
HB 1816 was reportedly “passed by indefinitely” along party lines in the state Senate’s Education and Health subcommittee. The bill can still be reconsidered at a later meeting.