Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Socialist group in Springfield protests ‘fearmongering’ Missouri Senate bill

Tonya Claiborne speaks at the PSL protest on January 23.
Josh Conaway
Tonya Claiborne speaks at the PSL protest on January 23.

On Monday night, downtown Springfield saw a protest by people opposing a new Missouri bill concerning transgender student-athletes and so-called critical race theory.

About 60 people gathered at Park Central Square on a biting January evening. The mostly college-age crowd protested Missouri Senate Bill 42, which would ban teaching critical race theory in public schools and prevent transgender girls from joining school-sponsored girls’ sports.

The Springfield Party for Socialism and Liberation organized the protest. Party member Tonya Claiborne took aim at the bill’s restriction against transgender participation in sports.

“While claiming to protect children, this bill subjects trans kids to further bullying, harassment and exclusion from crucial learning activities, and denies them a sense of belonging with their peers,” Claiborne called into a megaphone.

Currently, the Missouri State High School Activities Association requires transgender girls to undergo hormone replacement therapy for a full year before they’re allowed to join a girls’ sports team.

Autumn Reynolds, also with the PSL, says Senate Bill 42 ignores scientific research on hormone replacement therapy.

“Every possible things that conservatives and the sponsors of this bill are scaremongering about are just not factually based," Reynolds told KSMU. "It is a completely fearmongering based bill that has no basis in actual reality.”

The bill also bans any teaching of critical race theory — a set of ideas that originated in graduate schools — from secondary, elementary and pre-school.

At the protest, Jordan Johnston said they want schools to be allowed to teach difficult history.

“This entire country was built on the blood and bones of Native people, African American people, and to try to erase their fair share of history in our schools, a very necessary part of history – we need to talk about it,” Johnston said.

On Tuesday, the bill went to a hearing, where it was combined with a similar bill requiring public schools to teach “principles of American civics and patriotism.”

SB42’s sponsor is Missouri Senator Rick Brattin. KSMU could not reach him for comment by deadline.

Josh Conaway is a graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs. He works as a news reporter and announcer at KSMU. His favorite part of the job is exploring the rich diversity of the Ozarks and meeting people with interesting stories to share. He has a passion for history and running.