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Rhode Island’s only law school requires course on law, race

June 28, 2021 GMT

BRISTOL, R.I. (AP) — The only law school in Rhode Island will begin to require that second year students take a course on race and law in the U.S. starting this fall as Republicans across the country have complained and sought to limit how race is taught in elementary and high schools.

The faculty of Roger Williams University School of Law voted in June last year to create the course in response to a request from the school’s chapter of the Black Law Students Association and student interest, the Boston Globe reported on Monday.

The course, “Race & the Foundations of American Law,” was offered as an elective this spring as well.

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RWU Law Dean Gregory W. Bowman told the newspaper in an interview that the course will offer, “both a historical overview and a current assessment of how race has played a role in American law and provide critical analytic tools students can bring to all aspects of their legal education and future practice.”

Multiple state legislatures have recently considered actions that would limit how race and racism can be taught in public schools. Some of those measures specifically ban the teaching of critical race theory - once an obscure academic theory.

There is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught to K-12 public school students, despite claims from Nevada to Connecticut to Georgia that some discussions of U.S. history or contemporary social issues in classrooms constitute the teaching of the theory.