Groups say they will sue Georgia over ban on ‘divisive concepts’

Education and civil rights groups said Friday they will appeal Georgia’s law banning the teaching of certain racial concepts, claiming it violates First Amendment rights to free speech and 14th Amendment rights to equal protections .

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Education Association, and the Georgia Association of Educators sent a notice to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr notifying Carr 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 spokesman for state schools superintendent Richard Woods. Both Carr and Woods are up for re-election Tuesday.

Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 1084 into law earlier this year. The measure, which was based on an executive order issued by President Donald Trump that has since been repealed, has met with opposition from teachers’ groups and liberal groups. But Republicans said it was imperative to ban critical race theory, a term that has shifted from its original meaning as a study of how societal structures sustain white dominance to a broader denunciation of diversity initiatives and the teaching of race enough.

Prohibited “divisive concepts” include claims that the US is “fundamentally or systematically racist,” that every people is “inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” and that no one “feels unwell, guilt, fear, or anything should feel otherwise”. Form of mental distress due to his race.” Bills with identical wording have been proposed in dozens of states — backed by the Center for Renewing America, a think tank led by former Trump administration officials.

School districts must respond to complaints, and those who do not like the outcome can contact the state board of education. If the board finds the school district at fault, it could suspend some or all of its exemptions from state regulation.

Lawsuits have been filed against similar laws in states such as Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma and New Hampshire.

Opponents of the law argue that it amounts to classroom censorship and say it limits educators’ ability to teach accurate history and students’ ability to receive accurate education. Opponents said Friday it violated students’ right to receive information and ideas in the First Amendment and also violated First and 14th Amendment prohibitions on punishing people for speaking out.

“As a classroom teacher, I am confused and concerned about the impact this law will have not only on my classroom but also on my career,” history teacher Jeff Corkill said in a statement. “Like many educators in Georgia, I can’t figure out what I can and can’t legally teach, and my school district administration doesn’t seem to understand the legal prohibitions either.”

Other Georgia laws passed in a flurry of conservative electoral activity this year included allowing the state athletic association to ban transgender girls from school sports, codifying parental rights, making school systems accountable for parenting challenges responding to books, and increasing the tax credit for private school scholarships.

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