TENNESSEE: "Don't Say Gay" Education Bill Passes State Senate Committee
Tennessee's state Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill banning the mention of homosexuality in public schools prior to the ninth grade. Such a bill could derail any potential lessons on anti-gay bullying. The law is the pet project of state Sen. Stacey Campfield (left), who has introduced it six years in a row.
As introduced, the bill would have put into law a declaration that it is illegal to discuss any sexual behavior other than heterosexuality prior to the ninth grade. But when it came before the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, contended current law already prohibits such instruction by deeming it a misdemeanor to teach any sex education that is not part of the "family life curriculum" adopted by the state Board of Education. Tracy proposed an amendment to rewrite Campfield's bill to require the Board of Education to study the issue and determine whether any teaching about homosexuality is occurring and, if so, recommend what should be done about it. Campfield contends homosexuality is being discussed in classrooms. Spokesmen for the Board of Education and the state Department of Education told the committee they are unaware of any such activity. The Tracy amendment passed over Campfield's objections.