Photo from the Pro-Truth Press Conference, State House, Columbia, SC March 8, 2022

Pro-Truth South Carolina Press Conference Testimony 3–8–22

Amanda McDougald Scott, Ph.D.


I am Dr. Amanda McDougald Scott, Director of Responsible Action, and parent of a Kindergartener.

We are here today to talk about extremist bills designed to micromanage teachers, professors, and curriculum; while also HARMING many South Carolinians. These bills are also designed to tell a limited, untruthful, CENSORED version of history.

Our country decided years ago that education is the very foundation upon which our democracy exists, because an educated population is more prosperous, humanitarian, and autonomous. Therefore, education should NEVER be censored to make some more comfortable, thus requiring many others to continue enduring the same discomfort that they have for generations.

As parents, our job is to guide children — giving them opportunities to learn, thrive, and become thinking, capable adults who will contribute to our society in a positive manner. Our job is NOT to micromanage curriculum and perpetuate archaic, factually inaccurate narratives. Those who wish to do so should form their own private schools or homeschool, as they have been doing for years.

However, public schools and universities should expose children to new ideas, encouraging them to think critically. Teachers should be free to do their jobs — as well-trained professionals.

As a personal example, I am a product of parents with whom I very much disagree on many things to this day. A few years ago, my father wondered aloud how I came to think and believe the way I do. So, I reminded him that I am exactly what he what he raised me to be: a person who thinks critically from an informed perspective.

A person who reads things with which she may not agree.

A person who purposefully makes herself uncomfortable so that she may learn, grow, and understand the world in which we live.

When we do not provide the type of education that encourages students to be exposed to thoughts and ideas that might make them uncomfortable, or with which they might not agree, we are doing them a disservice.

When we limit our children’s exposure to only that with which WE agree, actively discouraging exploration and diversity in environment and thought….what happens when they discover that there is another way? That there is another truth? When we prohibit exposure to different perspectives, and deny the existence of those perspectives, what do you think happens when a child discovers their existence?

Trust is broken.

In some cases, lives are at stake.

Is that what we want for our children?

I think not.

War is raging between Ukraine and Russia because of extremism such as that which is presented in these bills. That extremism is not limited to Eastern Europe. It is alive and well here in South Carolina, the United States, and globally — and it is our responsibility to protect our democracy against it. Democracy dies while valuable time is spent manufacturing problems designed to fuel outrage for political gain. Instead of focusing on real problems and finding solutions, we are being forced to discuss and focus on book bans;

censorship and denial of history, truth, science, racism, and facts;

micromanaging educators and curriculum;

and sowing hate, division, and discord.

Instead, we could be finding solutions to real problems.

People are hungry, homeless, unable to get to work because of the lack of child care, worried about loved ones in war zones, underpaid…trying to survive. Those are the problems we should be focused on solving. There is no time for fighting about things that are not real.

Actions matter.

We must actively protect education, which fuels our freedoms and our democracy.

We CANNOT pass these anti-truth and pro-censorship bills.



Amanda McDougald Scott, Ph.D.

Advocate for social justice, mom to a 5-year-old, partner, friend. Political, child care, early childhood, psychology, and health care wonk.