Georgia House votes to make parenting challenges to the books easier


ATLANTA (AP) — A bill that would require public schools to meet challenges from materials parents consider obscene is nearing final passage in Georgia.

The State House voted 97-61 on Friday to pass Senate Bill 226. But because the House amended the measure, it must return to the Senate for further consideration.

Republicans said the bill was needed to give parents a clearer path to removing offensive books and materials from schools.

House Non-Civil Judiciary Committee Chairman James Burchett, a Waycross Republican, acknowledged that under state Board of Education rules, schools are already supposed to have a review process for complaints about obscene material. But parents who complain say the process doesn’t require a response, meaning districts and charter schools can simply ignore them.

“If parents don’t want young children to read material of a very degrading type, then that’s parental engagement, a process and due process for those parents to challenge that material,” Burchett said, affirming that local standards on obscenity might be different. in Georgia’s 180 school districts.

But Democrats have warned that the law will be used by activists seeking to impose their moral and political standards on the general public.

“This nationwide movement to ban books overwhelmingly targets books written by people of color or dealing with topics related to race, gender, identity, religion or the Holocaust,” the rep said. Bee Nguyen, an Atlanta Democrat running for secretary of “There is no doubt that the application of this law will be arbitrary. It will create a chilling effect on our school system. And it will mobilize a base of voters who will want to serve to remove any book they deem offensive.”

Some Georgia school districts have already announced they are removing certain books and cutting off access to some electronic materials in the face of a nationwide push by conservatives against what they consider inappropriate material.

The measure is part of a broader Republican campaign on school issues in Georgia and other states this year, including efforts to ban transgender girls from playing school sports and give parents the right to review teaching materials. Republicans also seek to outlaw critical race theory, a term expanded from its original meaning as an examination of how societal structures perpetuate white dominance to a broader indictment of diversity initiatives and gender equality. teaching of the breed.

A second bill pending in the Senate, House Bill 1217, would require districts to update their Internet filtering standards.

The anti-obscenity measure would allow parents to file objections to material with a school’s principal or designate, who would have 10 working days to decide whether to remove or restrict access. Parents could appeal to their local school board.

“This bill is going to make it much harder for administrators to refuse to ban books,” said Rep. David Dreyer, an Atlanta Democrat. “It will be harder for them to stand up to people who don’t have the best interest of the school or are just scared.

House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, a Republican from Milton, said those opposing the bill are going against parents and trying to allow schools to hide from justifiable public pressure on materials inappropriate.

“How dare they have an opinion?” is how Jones characterized the Democrats’ stance on parents. “How dare they have a deadline to rely on to be heard? How dare they receive an answer when they object to the materials? How dare their elected officials make a decision about something that affects their children? »


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