Condemn Bill That Requires Teachers to Report Gay Students to Parents

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Target: State Senator Stacey Campfield

Goal: Condemn homophobic Tennessee bill that requires teachers to inform parents that their child is gay.

A Tennessee bill that was brought down once before has been revived. The bill requires teachers, counselors and other staff members who interact with students on a daily basis to report student they feel are “at risk” of being gay to their parents. The bill is called the “Classroom Protection Act.”

State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) has brought back his controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the form of the “Classroom Protection Act.” The bill forbids discussion of homosexuality in schools, and demands that teachers and other school staff report a child’s conversations about sexuality to parents if the child is deemed “at risk” for homosexual behavior. The bill does not outline which conversations or behaviors would put a child in the “at risk” category, and therefore leaves it up to teachers and counselors to interpret student behavior. Teachers and counselors are encouraged to inform parents and guardians immediately in cases that “present immediate and urgent safety issues.” The bill does not define what such cases would involve. Campfield, however, has indicated that any sign that a student intended to participate in a sexual act would qualify as a “safety issue.” He stated that being gay was not the problem, but that “the act of homosexuality is very dangerous to someone’s health and safety.”

This bill could discourage students from seeking counseling about their sexual orientation, or any bullying that occurs because of it. Family rejection is also a serious risk for LGBT children. Many face abandonment if outed to their families. Children who are rejected by families show a high risk for depression and suicide. The “Classroom Protection Act” does not offer any protection to the students it claims to protect. In fact, it puts their lives at greater risk, and alienates LGBT youth from a helpful resource – their teachers and counselors. Condemn this bill and State Senator Stacey Campfield for homophobia and child endangerment.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Stacey Campfield,

You recently introduced the “Classroom Protection Act,” a reimagined version of your earlier “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill forbids discussions of homosexuality inside the school and requires teachers and counselors to report children they feel may be gay to their parents or guardians. I am writing to condemn you for the introduction of this homophobic bill. Not only does this bill not protect students, it endangers them further.

LGBT youth are a part of the world. They always have been and always will be. Your bill could discourage them from seeking counseling about their sexuality, or about the bullying they face as a result of their sexuality. Reporting to parents could cause children to face rejection and even abandonment. Suicide, depression and homelessness are a large problem in the LGBT community, not because of their sexuality, but because of the alienation they face for who they are. I find this bill reprehensible and hope you will take steps to have it removed immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rev Dan Catt via Flickr.

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