Indiana Lawmaker Apologizes for Encouraging “Impartial” Approach to Teaching Nazism in Schools

Scott Baldwin’s proposed senate bill stoked a political maelstrom when he suggested that teachers exercise neutrality in educating on Nazism and fascism.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

State senator Scott Baldwin (R-IN) has apologized for a series of remarks he made in a committee hearing last week about proposed Senate Bill 167, which would “remove divisive concepts from Hoosier classrooms.”

The Indiana lawmaker caused a commotion when he proposed that educators should be impartial when teaching about Nazism and fascism.

“I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of those ‘isms.’ I believe that we’ve gone too far when we take a position on those ‘isms.’ As it relates ... we need to be impartial,” Baldwin said, addressing public school teacher Matt Bockenfeld, who said he opposed the bill.

According to Bockenfeld, the bill would prevent students from learning about topics such as the Jim Crow era, slavery, and Nazism.

“We’re not neutral on Nazism,” Bockenfeld said, “We take a stand in the classroom against it. And it matters that we do.”

A day later, Bockenfeld took to Twitter to express his frustration with Baldwin’s bill proposal, saying that his “fears were confirmed.”

Others shared Bockenfeld’s sentiments, with many asserting that it was another iteration of the GOP’s ideology and “what they represent.”

The following day, Baldwin remarked that he had misspoken in an email to the Indy Star, writing, “Nazism, Marxism and fascism are a stain on our world history and should be regarded as such, and I failed to adequately articulate that in my comments during the meeting. I believe that kids should learn about these horrible events in history so that we don’t experience them again in humanity.”

Baldwin added that his “intent with regard to ‘political affiliation’ was to cover political parties within the American legal system. In my comments during committee, I was thinking more about the big picture and trying to say that we should not tell kids what to think about politics.”

Baldwin has since purportedly invited Bockenfeld to collaborate on the bill with him, which Bockenfeld has since accepted, The Times of Israel reported. Baldwin also released a statement on “recent news reports” via Twitter.