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'They need flexibility in order to teach': Bibb educators respond to state resolution to limit race discussion in classroom

Bibb County School Board President Daryl Morton says he trusts teachers to give accurate and appropriate lessons that align with the truth of America's history.

MACON, Ga. — Across Central Georgia, people are reacting to the resolution voted on by the State Board of Education to limit discussions about race, current events and public policy in the classroom.

Governor Brian Kemp wrote a letter on May 20 urging the state board of education to take "immediate steps to ensure that critical race theory, and its dangerous ideology, do not take root in our state standards and curriculum."

Two weeks after that, the State Board passed a resolution limiting discussions about race and current events in the classroom.

"If the resolution is used to keep our teachers from teaching the truth, then I'm against it. If the resolution is saying we need to be careful with how we teach uncomfortable parts of our history, I have less of an issue," Bibb School Board President Daryl Morton said. "I think essentially it's a statement against critical race theory," Morton said.

Parts of the resolution say that educators shouldn't use concepts that slavery constitutes the true founding of the United States or that one race is inherently superior to another.

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"We have an excellent group of teachers who are professionals and committed to teaching the truth, and I trust them to educate our children about the good and bad things in our history in an appropriate way that provides the information to the students. I'm not saying it won't make them uncomfortable, but it won't be a personal attack on them," Morton said.

District Coordinator for Social Studies Adrienne Hurley says slavery is first introduced to students in 4th grade.

"That is when students will cover basically how the colonies were established and it's studied through an economic perspective, because it was integral in our southern states having a viable economy to compete in our world market," Hurley said.

They'll cover those topics again in 8th grade and in high school, focusing specifically more on Georgia's history.

"In terms of the race aspect, in terms as it applies to the resolution, most of our teachers are not trained to do a deep-dive discussion," Hurley said.

Morton says he doesn't believe the resolution will impact their curriculum and has complete trust in their teachers.

"I think they need flexibility in order to teach to the best of their ability. I don't think we want to hamstring them in talking about the truth, even truth that is extremely uncomfortable, because, believe me, there's enough of it out there," Morton said.

13WMAZ reached out to Houston County Schools for a response. 

They wouldn't interview, but sent a statement saying they provide instruction based on the guidelines set by the Georgia Standards of Excellence. The Georgia Department of Education has made no changes to those standards. They say they will continue to produce high-achieving students.

Morton says this resolution is not mandated yet. There will need to be more legislation in order for those practices to be required in their curriculum.

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