Arizona launches ‘Empower Hotline’ for reporting ‘inappropriate’ school lessons

The state's Superintendent Tom Horne wants to crack down on lessons surrounding critical race theory or emotional-support curriculum.

Got a problem with your child’s instruction? If you’re an Arizona resident, you’re in luck. Just call the state’s “Empower Hotline,” open during weekday business hours, and report it.

The initiative was launched this week by the state’s recently elected Superintendent Tom Horne whose platform promised an increased focus on reading and math while declaring “war” on discussions surrounding emotions and identity, USA Today reports.

‘The Empower Hotline offers you the opportunity to make a report about inappropriate lessons that detract from teaching academic standards such as those that focus on race or ethnicity, rather than individuals and merit, promoting gender ideology, social-emotional learning or inappropriate sexual content,” according to the department’s website.

If teachers or staff members are named during a report, according to Horne, the department will send an investigator to that school and ask the to end their alleged inappropriate instruction or face discipline from the state board.

According to Marisol Garcia, president of the Arizona Education Association, she’s worried the hotline will create issues for the systems already in place for schools to deal with concerns from parents about their child’s instruction.

“It really does put teachers in a place where they have no idea they even had a complaint lodged against them,” she told USA Today. “People lose due process rights.”

Concerned parents can also send emails to the department, but are subject to a matter of public record subject to release, according to their website.

Horne said the department is conscious that “there will be false charges,” but his experience as an attorney will ensure wrongful accusations will be avoided. However, he added that if teachers have fault with being restricted in pushing “their personal ideology on a captive audience,” then they should consider teaching in Oregon or California.

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Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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