The Georgia Senate passed legislation on Friday that would restrict discussions of race from kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms.
House Bill 1084, the Protect Students First Act, was approved by the Georgia Senate. The measure requires local school boards and administrations to outlaw discrimination based on “race” by restricting how race can be discussed in classrooms.
Topics for discussion that would be banned under the bill include the doctrine that “one race is inherently superior to another race” or that the US is “fundamentally racist,” CNN reported.
“We can teach US history, the good, the bad, and the ugly, without racially dividing children,” Georgia Senate Deputy Speaker Butch Miller said of the bill, which passed 32-21.
“We have to teach patriotism and that America is good, if not perfect, that America is good,” Miller added.
The bill has already passed Georgia, but will return to that chamber for final approval after small changes in the Senate, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported. If approved, the measure will go to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for passage into law.
Kemp has already signaled support for initiatives like House Bill 1084. During his State of the State address in January, Kemp said he would support lawmakers trying to stop the “divisive ideology” of “critical race theory.”
Despite support from Republican lawmakers, the bill has drawn criticism, with students and teachers leading protests in the state capital opposing it, AJC reported.
“It’s about time we can have these uncomfortable conversations openly,” Maurice Brewton, a US history teacher in Georgia, told AJC. “We don’t want to push the conversation further back and get the next generation to deal with it,” Brewton added.
As in Georgia, other state legislatures have passed or proposed initiatives to censor classroom education.
In Mississippi, lawmakers passed a law banning the teaching of “critical race theory” in elementary schools, high schools and colleges statewide.