Speak out today against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

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TEP Chair Christopher SandersThe Chair of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) is asking why a lawmaker should be allowed to pick out a certain topic and attempt to ban or legislate control over it.

"It sets a bad precedent," Christopher Sanders said in an email regarding two bills sponsored by Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) that would take curriculum decisions away from our schools and the Department of Education and have a negative impact on the GLBT community.

The bills in question are HB0821 and HB0812 which will be up for a vote by the Tennessee House K-12 Subcommittee on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 10 a.m.

HB0821 is known as the "Don’t Say Gay" bill and would ban teaching or providing materials on any sexuality other than heterosexuality in grades K-8. The bill could also potentially limit student access to supportive teachers as well as library books that discuss GLBT issues or even have GLBT characters.

HB0812 would require a written receipt from a student’s parent or guardian who wishes to attend a family life course.  It also allows a student to be excused from a portion of a family life course by submitting a request to the principal.

"The sponsor hasn’t demonstrated the need for either bill," Sanders said. "This kind of legislation hurts the educational process by taking curriculum decision out of the hands of trained professionals in our local schools and the state Department of Education."

TEP officials are asking that people opposed to the two bills send emails to the members of the House K-12 subcommittee today through this form. They are also urging those who disagree with the bill’s intent to attend the K-12 Subcommittee meeting in Nashville on Wednesday, at Legislative Plaza, Room 16.