“Don’t Say Gay” bill returns to Tennessee senate

by Sara Smith

Tennessee’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill has returned to the floor of the Tennessee State Senate. The Classroom Protection Act, as it is officially called, would ban any discussion or instruction on homosexuality in classrooms from Kindergarten through eighth grade. The bill states, “any such classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction shall be classified as inappropriate for the intended student audience and, therefore, shall be prohibited.” Stacey Campfield, the bills sponsor, stated in an interview with TMZ. She said that “the act of homosexuality is very dangerous” to human health as his logic behind the ban on discussion of non-reproductive sexual activity.

Even more troubling, an amendment has been added to the reintroduced version of the bill that would require teachers and counselors to report to parents if their children are engaging in any activity “inconsistent with natural human reproduction.” Counselors would have an obligation to report any students who seek counseling services for LGTB concerns or express openly that they are not heterosexual.

Moreover, the language of the amendment can be interpreted in such a way that teachers and counselors would be required to report behavior that even seemed to place a child “at risk” for homosexual activity. At risk activity encompasses a wide range of behaviors and could even be interpreted to include being bullied by peers for being gay.

The College Democrats and GSA have started a letter writing campaign to express concern over the bill and urge senators to vote ‘no’ on The Classroom Protection Act.

The Classroom Protection Act is a violation of the human rights of young children. The bill protects no one, while simultaneously turning counseling services into a policing agency. If you are opposed to this bill and would like to voice your opinion in a constructive way, you should consider becoming a part of the letter writing campaign and send in a letter to one of the senators. For more information on how you can become a part of the letter writing campaign, email Linus Billings at billilw0@sewanee.edu.