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DeKalb School Board postpones passing divisive concepts resolution

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DeKalb School Board postpones passing divisive concepts resolution

Board Chair Vickie B. Turner, on left, and Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris during the DeKalb County Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, April 18, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in The District, an exclusive newsletter for Decaturish subscribers. To become a subscriber, visit supportyourlocalnews.com 

By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb School Board members at their Sept. 12 meeting refused to adopt a complaint resolution policy for House Bill 1084, also called Protect Students First Act.  

Signed into law in April, HB 1084 prevents the use of curricula or training programs that promote “divisive concepts.” Added to the bill was the creation of an executive oversight committee that could prohibit transgender students from participating in sports.

Divisive concepts” listed in the law include race and political beliefs. Deirdre Pierce, District 3 board member, said the board is between a rock and a hard place.

Board member Marshall Orson called HB 1084 a “terrible and ridiculous law.”

“We want critical thinkers who know the truth. This is completely anathema to that idea. But the state has also placed us in an impossible situation by requiring us to have a policy. Quite frankly, if you’re going to pass a law like this, why don’t you just put the policy in place, too, and not put the obligation on us to carry out a law that many of us think is reprehensible?” said Orson. 

The first read for the adoption of the policy was introduced at the August DeKalb school board meeting. When Board Chair Vickie E. Turner asked for a motion at the September meeting, no motion was made. Orson suggested bringing the item to the next special called meeting. 

DeKalb County School Board attorney Clem Doyle said other boards have had exceptions to the law. 

“We’ll be happy to provide some analysis. We provided some analysis previously, although not on that specific issue, and keep the board apprised of that,” said Doyle. 

School boards were required to adopt a complaint resolution process by Aug. 1. 

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