RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina school board has passed a policy preventing critical race theory in its classrooms after county commissioners threatened to withhold nearly $8 million in funding.

The Johnston County school board unanimously approved on Friday an updated policy on how history and racism will be taught, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Under the new policy, teachers could be disciplined or fired if they teach that American historical figures weren’t heroes, undermine the U.S. Constitution in lessons or describe racism as a permanent part of American life.

The all-Republican Johnston County Board of Commissioners was withholding $7.9 million until the school board passed a policy preventing critical race theory from local classrooms.

A revised code of ethics policy includes new wording such as “the United States foundational documents shall not be undermined,” and “all people who contributed to American Society will be recognized and presented as reformists, innovators and heroes to our culture.”

April Lee, president of the Johnston County Association of Educators and an eighth-grade social studies teacher, said the school system is “selling our souls to the devil for $7.9 million.” She also said the new policy is "basically extortion.”

Last month, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would have limited how public school teachers can discuss certain racial concepts.