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GA House committee moves bill banning teaching "divisive concepts"

Bee Nguyen headshot
GA House of Representatives
Representative Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta) questioned whether HB 1084 would punish teachers for saying slavery was wrong.

Georgia public school teachers could face restrictions on how they teach the history of race in America under a bill passed by a Georgia House committee on Wednesday.

House Bill 1084 aims to ban the teaching of “divisive concepts” in Georgia classrooms, including topics pertaining to slavery and other racial conflicts that took place throughout U.S. history. It passed out of the House Committee on Education in a 13-7 vote.

According to the bill, this ban was created in an effort to prevent students from feeling “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of his or her race.” That could include lessons which could potentially encourage the idea that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other individuals of the same race.”

The Center for Renewing America, an organization led by former Trump administration officials, supports the measure, along with similar bills proposed in dozens of other states.

In addition to banning "divisive" concepts, the bill also proposes “a complaint resolution policy for its local school systems to address complaints alleging violations of any provision." Administrators, school personnel, parents, and students who are considered of age will be able to submit a violation report.

Republican Will Wade of Dawsonville, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the mission of this bill is to establish a unified explanation of American History.

“This is to ensure that we become the United States of America and we are united in addressing these issues,” Wade said.

But another committee member, Rep. Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta) said she feared a “chilling effect” and questioned if teachers could, "get in trouble for saying slavery is wrong?”

House Bill 1084 now moves to the full House for a vote.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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