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Georgia senator introduces Parents’ Bill of Rights

Georgia Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford.
Georgia Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford.(Facebook/Senator Clint Dixon)
Updated: Feb. 3, 2022 at 5:33 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Georgia Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford, has introduced a new bill called the Parents Bill of Rights to give parents more autonomy over what their children learn in public schools.

It allows parents to request instructional materials that teachers will use to teach students and gives parents the option to have their children ‘opt out’ of some lessons.

The new bill goes beyond requiring a syllabus and outline be sent home. It also requires schools to provide parents with all instructional material so that they can review it for the first two weeks of a nine-week grading period.

Some parents say they want to make sure their children aren’t being taught lessons they view as inappropriate, whether it is about race or sex, and they support the bill.

Michael Rudnick says he wants more access and control over what his son with special needs is being taught at his Gwinnett County middle school.

“Parents need to know what their children are being taught,” Rudnick said. “They need the ability to preview that material and decide if it’s appropriate for their children.” The dad who is running to be elected for the Gwinnett County school board says his son’s 7th grade class is learning about sex education in their health class. After receiving notice about the module, Rudnick decided to pull his son from the lessons and take alternative education during the period of time that sex ed is being taught. “I don’t feel it’s appropriate for him right now,” Rudnick told CBS46.

Gwinnett County parent Holly Terei says she’s concerned that she doesn’t have enough access to the lessons and she wants more input before lessons are taught.

“If there is something in the curriculum that the parents disagree with then they can opt out of it,” Terei said.

Both parents are standing in support of a new bill by Senator Dixon’s bill.

The proposed legislation, being pushed by Governor Kemp requires schools to provide parents with all instructional materials used to teach lessons.

“It’s my number one issue and I’ve got parents contacting me daily concerned about curriculum and what’s being taught to their children,” Sen. Dixon said.

If a parent requests more information on course materials, the principal or superintendent must provide it to the parent within three days.

The bill comes as parents continue to raise concerns about the possibility of critical race theory being taught in schools—a concept that explores the impact of racism on society.

“We’ve had parents that have shown evidence that this type of curriculum was implemented in the classroom however when it’s presented to someone in authority the answer always is CRT is not in the AKS (Academic Knowledge and Skills standards for the county.)

Parents in Gwinnett County this week say that they’ve uncovered a syllabus through a conservative group that lists critical race theory under an Advance Placement high school course on literature and research.

The syllabus says students would analyze the value of using different lenses in social criticism including Critical Race Theory, Feminist, Marxist, Psychoanalytic discussing how those perspectives apply to the different methods used by research fields.

Georgia school districts have denied teaching the CRT in k-12 schools.

Gwinnett Schools tells CBS46,  “This syllabus was submitted to College Board by a teacher as part of the AP course audit process during the summer of 2017; however, the actual class syllabus provided to students that year and in subsequent years did not include any reference to critical race theory. CRT is not taught in this class and is not a part of GCPS curriculum.”

“Those accusations that certain things are being taught not taught that is a direct attack on the professionalism and integrity of educators,” said Lisa Morgan, a kindergarten teacher and president of the Georgia Association of Educators. She says one troubling part of the bill is that it allows parents to review nine weeks of lesson materials for the first two weeks of the grading period—added difficulty for teachers.

“As an educator your lesson plans, we don’t have nine weeks of lesson plans prepared. You won’t have the exact instructional materials,” Morgan said, adding that parents already have access to syllabi and course information that’s sent home with students.