Fulton schools set process for addressing divisive concept complaints

As required by a new state law, Fulton County Schools has established a process to handle complaints about how race and racism are discussed in classrooms.

The school board on Tuesday voted 6-1, with Franchesca Warren opposed, to update its policies to reflect requirements related to House Bill 1084.

The controversial law, which went into effect July 1, limits how teachers talk about “divisive concepts.” It bars teachers from asserting that the United States is fundamentally racist, that one race is superior to another or that individuals should feel guilty because of their race.

Backed by Republicans and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, the law requires school districts to create a process to review complaints made by parents who allege such concepts are being mishandled in their child’s school.

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Superintendent Mike Looney told board members that the district’s policy must be revised by Aug. 1, prior to the start of the school year, “in order to be in compliance with the law.”

Board members, including Warren, who represents areas in south Fulton County, did not comment on the changes at Tuesday’s meeting.

The complaint resolution process set by Fulton closely mirrors the model policy released last month by the State Board of Education. The state board’s document is intended to guide local districts on how to respond if a parent alleges a violation has occurred.

In accordance with the new law, Fulton’s process requires a school principal or designee to review complaints and “take reasonable steps to investigate the allegations” within five school days.

Within 10 school days of the school receiving a complaint, the parent will be informed if a violation occurred and what remedial steps have been or will be taken.

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If requested, a written summary of the investigation will be provided within three school days.

Fulton’s guidelines also lay out the appeals process should a parent disagree with the decision. Appeals can ultimately make their way to the state education board for a hearing.