Back in April of 2012, Republican Senator Stacey Campfield introduced a bill into the Tennessee legislature which became known as the 'Don’t Say Gay' bill. In the bill, there were provisions that would prohibit teachers from bringing up anything connected with homosexuality through the eighth grade.
When asked about the bill, Campfield insisted he was not homophobic. Instead, he called the issue of homosexuality with respect to younger children 'complicated.' He also stated that teaching homosexuality will take away from time needed on core subjects, such as arithmetic.
The bill, SB234, died when the state assembly adjourned last year, but it appears to have been given new life, but with the new provision that requires teachers or guidance counselors to 'out' a student to their parents or guardians. He referred to potentially homosexual students to be 'at risk.'
ThinkProgress highlighted a portion of the bill, which can be found in its entirety here, as stating:
"The general assembly recognizes that certain subjects are particularly sensitive and are, therefore, best explained and discussed within the home. Because of its complex societal, scientific, psychological, and historical implications, human sexuality is one such subject. Human sexuality is best understood by children with sufficient maturity to grasp its complexity and implications."
"A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student’s parents or legal guardians. Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred."
As the report points out, LGBT youth face many obstacles, one of which is rejection by their families. On some occasions, homosexual youth are abandonded by their families, often resulting in living on the streets. It is estimated that as many as four out of every ten homeless youth are members of the LGBT community, and are more susceptible to depression. As well, the rate of suicide among this demographic is high.
SB 0234, also known as the 'Classroom Protection Act,' justifies the act of 'outing' a student by including the terminology,
"…certain subjects are particularly sensitive and are, therefore, best explained and discussed within the home."
It further states,
"At grade levels pre-K through eight (pre-K-8), 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."
For more information, relevant links and commentary, please read the whole story here.