School System Implements Policies in Response to Parents’ Bill of Rights and Dividing Concepts Laws | Local News

MOULTRIE, Ga — The Colquitt County School District is implementing four new policies for the upcoming 2022-2022 school year.

Dr. Marni Kirkland, CCDS Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, first presented the policies to the CCDS Board of Education at the June 27 board meeting.

The board approved the policies at the July 25 meeting.

The new policies include a parent’s bill of rights, unstructured break times, a process for resolving complaints about divisive concepts, and a process for resolving complaints about material harmful to minors.

Each of the policies and procedures was adopted in response to new legislation from the Georgia General Assembly.

Kirkland explained that once a law is passed that affects state school board policies, local school districts must review and update their policies accordingly.

“The Georgia School Board Association trains a model, and that’s what we use,” Kirkland said in an interview Monday morning. “It’s based [on] the law through their lawyers and our lawyers to make sure we don’t break it. It’s quite comprehensive. »

In February, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced legislation to create the Parents’ Bill of Rights.

“At a time when our nation is more divided than ever, we are leading the fight to ensure that parents have no barriers that prevent them from taking an active role in their child’s education,” Kemp said in a press release at the time. .

Kirkland said CCSD has had this policy for years as “normal operating procedure.”

Prior to the legislation, each school district had its own procedure. Now, all school districts have a specific procedure in accordance with the new law.

The “Unstructured Break Time” policy requires students in grades K-8 to have break time that is not interrupted or restricted due to punishment.

Each school handles unstructured time differently based on their schedule, and unstructured break time for students in grades six through eight is at the discretion of the school principal.

“Unstructured time” is not an extra break added to schedules. The policy only affects the time already scheduled.

CCSD Director of Communications, Angela Hobby, explained, “That doesn’t mean we dedicate this time to every school. It’s that if you already have it in your schedule, you can’t use it as a punishment by removing it, so it’s not an add-on.

Another updated policy is the “Divisive Concepts Complaint Resolution Process” and the “Material Harmful to Minors Complaint Resolution Process” which allow a teacher, parent or student to file a complaint if it encounters or encounters any divisive concept or material harmful to minors.

“The concept of division is that if something happens in a classroom and is divisive or seen that way, you go that way. [with the complaint]said Kirkland. “Harmful material is that we brought something on video, a person, a worksheet, an assignment, and which falls into this category, according to the complaint.”

According to the Board Policy Manual of the Georgia School Boards Association, a concept of division is defined as

A. A race is inherently superior to another race;

B. The United States of America is fundamentally racist;

C. An individual, by virtue of his race, is inherently or consciously racist or oppressive towards individuals of other races;

D. An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or in part because of their race;

E. The moral character of an individual is intrinsically determined by his race;

F. An individual, solely by virtue of his race, bears individual responsibility for acts committed in the past by other individuals of the same race;

G. An individual, solely because of his race, should experience anguish, guilt or any other form of psychological distress;

H. Advancement based on performance or recognition and appreciation of character traits such as a hard work ethic is racist or has been advocated by individuals of one particular race to oppress individuals of another breed ; Where

I. Any other form of racial scapegoating or racial stereotyping.

When a teacher, student, parent, or guardian wishes to make a complaint, they should submit a written complaint to the principal of the school where the alleged divisive concept or harmful material was shared.

Jeremy S. McLain