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Lawmakers in Georgia have introduced anti-critical race theory legislation that would incorporate parts of Florida’s “parental rights in education” bill for a double-whammy school bill that is infuriating progressives.
The “Common Humanity in Private Education Act” introduced in the state Senate would prohibit schools from teaching “that any sex, race, ethnicity, color, or natural origin is inherently superior or inferior,” adopting language similar to other Republican-backed bills that have taken aim at critical race theory. The bill also prohibits teaching that anyone is “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” and bans classroom exercises that “segregate students” by race (a junior high school in New York City sparked controversy for one such exercise).
But the bill would go further than banning critical race theory. It also aims to “deter developmentally inappropriate classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation” for primary school students — that is, children in kindergarten through 6th grade, generally ages 5 to 12.
Similar legislation in Florida was inaccurately labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by LGBTQ+ activists and critics who asserted it is hateful and discriminatory to restrict discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity to higher grade levels. A spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who supports the parental rights bill, said the bill “would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill” and controversially said, tongue-in-cheek, “if you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules.”
The Georgia bill states that some schools “have inappropriately discussed gender identity with children who have not yet reached the age of discretion.”
It also argues that “curricula and programs based in critical theory” have compelled “students to adopt language and attitudes that promote racial division and discrimination.”
Critics pounced on the legislation, sounding the alarm and inaccurately calling it Georgia’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay bill.”
Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University, blasted the bill as “a profoundly hateful piece of legislation that will harm Georgia’s children, chill speech, and will be used as a cudgel to attack LGBTQ people and their supporters as pedophiles.”
Reporters such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Maya Prabhu have noted that the education bill is unlikely to advance in the Georgia Senate because the state Senate’s Education and Youth Committee is not scheduled to meet until Thursday, while Wednesday is the deadline to get the bill out of committee.
“This measure is going nowhere fast in the Capitol this year,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein wrote on Twitter. “But it also makes a statement when 10 GOP senators — including candidates for statewide office — sign on. Expect to hear it on the campaign trail — and possibly pave the way for debate next year.”