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Challenge | 30-60 minutes

Who controls our classrooms? #SRLShorts



Schools have become flashpoints for America’s political debates– with teachers and students caught in the middle. Lawmakers have proposed more than 200 bills that would restrict or change the way teachers talk about race, American history, gender and sexuality, limit students’ access to books, or increase parents’ rights over their children’s education. According to the Washington Post, 64 of these bills have been signed into law across 25 states.

More than 1,600 books have been banned from schools, according to the free speech advocacy organization PEN America.

SRL wants to hear your experiences and opinions about what you learn and read at school.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Students will create short, vertical videos (10-30 seconds). They can film either themselves or interview fellow peers. As well as research and explain some laws!

We aim to publish the responses on our TikTok and Instagram!

This will be a recurring monthly challenge in which students will submit rapid response type answers to questions. The theme changes monthly for #SRLShorts.


We PRIMARILY are accepting videos in a VERTICAL format for social media. You can include horizontal but please film with enough space around your subject to allow for vertical cropping.

Please do not add music or text to your videos! :)

Central inquiry questions: choose one question to answer per student

  • Has your education been affected by a new state law, book ban, or local school board policy?
  • If yes, explain it, and how this change affected you.
  • Does it affect the way you can learn or express yourself?
  • If you have not been affected by a new state law, book ban, or school board policy change, how do you feel about what is happening in other school districts?

Note: Please only send it your top 5 responses per class. Also, when answering, please include the question in your response. Example: What is your favorite color? My favorite color is blue.

    • Say and spell the full name of the person ON CAMERA
    • Say the name of the school, city, and state of the person appearing on camera in the video.
    • A release must be submitted for every student that appears on camera under the age of 18.

Failure to do so can result in your video not being used in the final product.

OPTION 1: Share your own perspective

Using yourself on camera, describe the changes and how you feel. Are you in favor of these changes or against them?

OPTION 2: Interview someone else

You can interview fellow teens and ask them to explain how they feel about these changes and how the education system should serve students.

OPTION 3: Examine a change to education

Choose a proposed bill, new law or policy, and discuss what you think are the benefits or drawbacks. Include whether you believe, as a student, that this is something that would help you in your learning.

For example:

  • Florida’s: HB 1557- “...prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels; authorizes parents to bring action against school district to obtain declaratory judgment,”
    • Critics refer to it as Florida's “Don’t Say Gay” law
  • Iowa’s: HF 802- “A law limiting the ways that teachers can discuss race and gender. A bill proposed in 2023 would mandate that the department of education create a website for students and parents to report violations (for a monetary award).”
    • Prohibit the use of curriculum that teaches the topics of sexism, slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation or racial discrimination, including topics relating to the enactment and enforcement of laws resulting in sexism, racial oppression, segregation, and discrimination.



Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.

Source: American Press institute


Belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

Source: Merriam Webster


Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Source: Lexico, Powered by Oxford


Media refers to all electronic or digital means and print or artistic visuals used to transmit messages.

Source: NAMLE


The condition of having or being composed of differing elements. Especially in the context of the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization

Source: Merriam Webster


The act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability)

Source: Merriam Webster


Immediate, current information and events are newsworthy because they have just recently occurred. It’s news because it’s “new.”


People are attracted to information that helps them make good decisions. If you like music, you find musician interviews relevant. If you’re looking for a job, the business news is relevant. We need to depend on relevant information that helps us make decisions.


When violence strikes or when people argue about actions, events, ideas or policies, we care. Conflict and controversy attract our attention by highlighting problems or differences within the community or between groups. Sometimes conflict can be subtle and manifest as tension.


The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences. A generally definition is the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. In media-making, creators can have empathy for their subjects and the audience can empathize with the characters.

Earth and Human Activity

Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity. (NGSS HS-ESS3-1)


Historical understanding requires recognizing this multiplicity of points of view in the past, which makes it important to seek out a range of sources on any historical question rather than simply use those that are easiest to find. It also requires recognizing that perspectives change over time, so that historical understanding requires developing a sense of empathy with people in the past whose perspectives might be very different from those of today. (NCSS D2.His.4.9-12 - D2.His.8.9-12)

Speaking and Listening - Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas




Race and Justice


Social Media

Active Prompts




Camera or Mobile Phone

Mobile Phone

Estimated Time

30-60 minutes