Groups say they will sue Georgia for banning ‘divisive concepts’ – WABE

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Education and civil rights groups said on Friday they would file a lawsuit to strike down Georgia’s law banning the teaching of certain racial concepts, saying it violates First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. Expression and 14th Amendment Rights to Equal Protection.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Education Association and the Georgia Association of Educators sent a notice to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr advising him of their intention to sue in federal court.

Kara Richardson, a spokeswoman for Carr, said the office received the letter but declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for Public Schools Superintendent Richard Woods. Both Carr and Woods are eligible for re-election on Tuesday.

Governor Brian Kemp earlier this year signed House Bill 1084 into law. The measure, based on a now-repealed executive order by President Donald Trump, has drawn opposition from teachers’ groups and liberal groups. But Republicans have said there is a dire need to ban critical race theory, a term ranging from its original meaning as an examination of how societal structures perpetuate white dominance to more indictment. broad diversity initiatives and race education.

Prohibited “divisive concepts” include claims that the United States is “fundamentally or systemically racist,” that all people are “inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” and that no one “should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of his race”. Bills using identical language have been proposed in dozens of states — backed by the Center for Renewing America, a think tank run by former Trump administration officials.

School districts must respond to complaints, and people who don’t like the outcome can appeal to the state Board of Education. If the board finds that the school district is wrong, it could suspend some or all of its waivers from state regulations.

Lawsuits have been filed challenging similar laws in states like Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma and New Hampshire.

Opponents of the law argue that it is classroom censorship, saying it limits educators’ ability to teach accurate history and students’ ability to receive accurate education. Opponents said Friday it violated a First Amendment right for students to receive information and ideas and also violated First and 14th Amendment prohibitions on punishing people for their speech.

“As a teacher, I am confused and concerned about the impact of this law not only on my classroom, but also on my career,” history professor Jeff Corkill said in a statement. “Like many educators in Georgia, I can’t understand what I can or can’t teach under the law, and my school district administrators don’t seem to understand the law’s prohibitions either.”

Other Georgia laws were passed this year in a flurry of conservative campaign activity, including allowing the state sports association to ban transgender girls from high school sports, codifying parental rights, requiring school systems to respond to parenting book challenges; and increasing tax credits. for private school scholarships.

“Efforts to expand our multicultural democracy through public education are being met with rampant efforts in Georgia to censor educators, ban books, and desperate measures to suppress teaching the truth about slavery and systemic racism” said Mike McGonigle, general counsel for the Georgia Association of Educators. A declaration.

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