House Education Committee
State Rep. Courtney Rogers, Tennessee-045
State Rep. Harry Brooks, Tennessee-019
State Rep. Barry Doss, Tennessee-070
State Rep. Kevin Brooks, Tennessee-024
State Rep. Beth Harwell, Tennessee-056
State Rep. Joseph Pitts, Tennessee-067
State Rep. Bill Dunn, Tennessee-016
State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, Tennessee-082
State Rep. Dale Carr, Tennessee-012
State Rep. John Windle, Tennessee-041
State Rep. John DeBerry, Tennessee-090
State Rep. Raumesh Akbari, Tennessee-091
State Rep. Ron Lollar, Tennessee-099
State Rep. Debra Moody, Tennessee-081
State Rep. Joe Carr, Tennessee-048
State Rep. John Ragan, Tennessee-033
State Rep. John Forgety, Tennessee-023
State Rep. Dennis Powers, Tennessee-036
State Rep. Ryan Williams, Tennessee-042
Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) assured at last Wednesday’s Education Subcommittee hearing that the amended bill does not “prohibit the use of the word gay, change the state’s anti-bullying statute, or prohibit a school guidance counselor from discussing issues of sexuality with a student.” He made the case that HB0229, as amended, clarifies current curriculum practice and is consistent with Title 49...
Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) assured at last Wednesday’s Education Subcommittee hearing that the amended bill does not “prohibit the use of the word gay, change the state’s anti-bullying statute, or prohibit a school guidance counselor from discussing issues of sexuality with a student.” He made the case that HB0229, as amended, clarifies current curriculum practice and is consistent with Title 49 as written.
But those assurances don’t agree with statements made by the Senate sponsor of the same bill (SB0049) before and after it was amended.
Sen. Stacey Campfield claimed last April that he had proof that teachers were talking about homosexuality in the schools, even though the State Board of Education stated there was no evidence it was happening. When asked directly, Sen. Campfield could not and would not provide specific instances of teachers talking about homosexuality in grades K-8. He made vague references to one alleged incident by a teacher, but could not even say what grade this teacher taught or what subject.
When asked about the amended SB0049 after it passed last May, Sen. Campfield admitted that many of his colleagues were uncomfortable with the language. "There's more than one way to skin a cat," he said and went on to say, "I got what I wanted." He said the language is appropriate because "homosexuals don't naturally reproduce," and he said it's necessary because the state's curriculum is unclear on what can be taught.
Memorialize the words of Rep. Dunn from the last House Education Subcommittee by adding a new amendment to HB0229. Amend the bill to add the following language as a new subdivision (3) of subsection(c) of Section 1:
"Nothing in this section shall prohibit any person in public elementary, junior high or high schools from confronting bullying, intimidation or harassment of students as outlined in Section 49-6-1014 through 49-6-1019."
The above amendment will send a clear message that state lawmakers care for all students in Tennessee. Without such an amendment, Rep. Dunn’s assurances mean nothing. It will mean House leadership has turned a deaf ear toward those young students calling for help who endure years of anti-gay bullying. If HB0229 advances in its current form, the House Education Committee will confirm its animus toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Tennessee.