Despite having been stalled in subcommittee before, state Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) is once again making a push to advance H.B. 0821, often referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The bill as written, along with its companion piece in the Senate, S.B. 11250, would ban the teaching or furnishing materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8.
Appearing on WZTV FOX-17 this morning, Campfield defended the measure by saying that it would keep schools neutral in the sexuality arena.
“Sexuality is a very complex issue, and some parents have different philosophies about the issue,” he said. “We are saying that schools should remain neutral; we’re not advocating for or against the homosexual lifestyle.”
Rebutting Campfield’s points was Chris Sanders, board chair of the Tennessee Equality Project, who said that the bill was drawing attention away from more vital education-related issues.
“This bill is a slap in the face of local control of education,” Sanders said. “This is what some teaching associations are talking about, not what the existing curricula are doing.”
Campfield responded that the state provides funding to local school systems, so it should be able to exercise control over what students should and should not learn, while Sanders said the bill would likely have no measurable impact on the day-to-day operating of schools.
The Tennessee Board of Education has stated that there is no need for the bill, and many thought it had been relegated to the legislative backwater for this session. Campfield moved for debate, however, which now will take place on Wednesday, April 7 at 10 a.m. in the House Education K-12 Subcommittee.
For more information on the bill and TEP’s monitoring efforts, click here.