On Monday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is expected to sign a bill that outlines parents’ rights if they oppose the curriculum used in public schools.
The bill, HB 1178 —which passed by Georgia’s Senate on Friday 31 to 22 — outlines parents’ rights to inspect classroom materials, opt their children out of sex education, access all records related to their child, and prevent the creation of photos, videos, and voice recordings of their children, except for security purposes.
HB 1178 had previously passed the state’s House 98 to 68.
“Parents have a right to be actively involved in their child’s learning experience,” Kemp said in a tweet Friday. “This bill will ensure transparency in education by promoting a partnership between parents [and] educators.”
I applaud the House & Senate for passing HB1178 to establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights.
Parents have a right to be actively involved in their child’s learning experience. This bill will ensure transparency in education by promoting a partnership between parents & educators. https://t.co/jWp2pnbHqC
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) April 1, 2022
The law also mandates that school boards create procedures for parents to object to the content of lessons taught in the classroom.
Georgie joins Florida in passing legislation giving parents rights and visibility in public education. Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, HB 1557, prohibits the public school system from teaching students in kindergarten through third grade about sexual orientation or gender identity.
Opponents of Georgia’s HB 1178 have voiced concern that it will create tension between parents and educators.
“All this does is set up a fight and logistical nightmares for our teachers to deal with,” said Rep. Stacey Evans. “This is going to keep the lawyers pretty busy trying to figure out what was and wasn’t produced.”
The Senate also passed a related bill on education, but it is headed back to the House for approval of minor changes before landing on Kemp’s desk.
The Protect Students First Act prohibits the instruction of nine “divisive concepts,” including the notions that one race is superior to another, the U.S. is fundamentally racist, and that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race, is inherently or consciously racist or oppressive towards individuals of other races.”
The legislation maintains that no student should feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of his or her race.”
Supporters of the act, HB 1084, still believe that a comprehensive history of America is essential in the classroom and do not want to erase civil rights struggles.
“We can teach U.S. history, the good, the bad, and the ugly, without dividing children along racial lines,” Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller said Friday. “We must teach patriotism and that America is good. Though not perfect, America is good.”