Press Release: ACLU of Georgia and the Southern Poverty Law Center Remind Educators, Students of their First Amendment Rights as School Year Begins under new Classroom Censorship Law
ATLANTA, Ga. – The ACLU of Georgia (ACLU-GA) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) are offering support to educators, students and parents in Georgia as the school year begins under a new classroom censorship law (H.B. 1084) signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in April. The law critically limits discussions on race in Georgia public schools.
Both organizations encourage everyone involved in Georgia public schools to share experiences related to H.B. 1084. Educators who believe the law is being used to discipline or retaliate against them or students in a way that interferes with their First Amendment rights, are asked to contact the SPLC at TeachTruth@splcenter.org. Students are also encouraged to contact the SPLC if they suspect the classroom censorship law is blocking classroom discussions, materials, or lessons from occurring. The SPLC, ACLU-GA, and ACLU Speech, Technology and Privacy Project are working together, and may be able to help.
“Understanding constitutional protections including the right to free speech in public or private, the right to clear, understandable laws, and the right to employment protections, will help educators and Georgia public school parents and students navigate the school year under a censorship law recently passed by the Georgia legislature,” said Brock Boone, senior staff attorney for the SPLC. “If an educator or student believes that truthful and accurate teaching in their class is being withheld or censored under HB 1084, we want to hear from them.”
The ACLU of Georgia and the SPLC are committed to proactively supporting public education that is truthful, diverse and inclusive. These organizations are also committed to supporting educators, students and parents who are negatively affected by the law.
“Teachers, educators, and school staff play a vital role in educating the future generations of this country,” said Nneka Ewulonu, ACLU of Georgia staff attorney. “While these new classroom censorship laws are vague, public school teachers still have constitutional rights and a professional duty to teach the truth.”