By Milan Parker
Members of the NAACP Dekalb branch attended the Dekalb County School Board meeting on March 13, 2023, to oppose Georgia House Bill (HB)1084. Presenters attended the meeting to protest the controversial bill that erases Black history from Georgia classrooms. 25 attendees listened to 5 panelists address the Dekalb County Board of Education during Monday night’s meeting.
Members called on the Dekalb County School Board to implement a district-wide position on HB 1084 and provide resources that support Georgia teachers in teaching the standards that this House Bill opposes. Additionally, The NAACP Dekalb Branch offered a partnership in collaboration with the Dekalb County School Board to provide training to Dekalb county teachers.
“We can’t and won’t allow this because we are our history, and our history defines us” D.E. Smith concluded.
Among the presenters included former school administrator Tiffany Tate Hogan, noting how Georgia HB1084 impacts both student and teacher success.
Georgia U.S. History standards require students to critically analyze the connection between slavery and the Civil War, fostering discourse that HB1084 opposes. Hogan voiced worries about the lack of support needed to ensure that all students in Georgia meet or exceed Georgia state assessment testing requirements.
“Either the standards are not taught or they are not taught at the level of rigor that is required for success on the state test. This, of course, is a disservice to our students because you can’t learn what you have never been taught. Teachers need to know that they are supported in teaching what House Bill 1084 deems as divisive”, stated Hogan.
In a statement to the Dekalb County Board of Education, Lance Hammonds, the NAACP Dekalb Branch President, stated to the board that “it is imperative for our students to know the truth about history so that they can create a better future”.
In April 2022, the Georgia Senate passed HB 1084, barring Georgia public educators from teaching important topics such as critical race theory, Black history, and the generational effects of slavery in the U.S. The bill’s wording has been criticized for being intentionally vague in its banning of nine concepts, such as teaching that the United States is not inherently a racist institution.
Albert Fields, Communications Press & Publicity chair member of the NAACP Dekalb Branch, said,
“There are good parts, bad parts and some ugly parts of history that need to be discussed. The point of education is to bring people out of ignorance, and yet we find ourselves slipping into the darkness of the Jim Crow era because of House Bill 1084.”
See the full NAACP DeKalb position paper on HB1084