Tennessee educators may soon be prohibited from discussing homosexuality in school.
According to FOX News, the State Senate’s Education Committee approved legislation entitled Don’t Say Gay last week, which would ban public school teachers in grades K-8 from addressing homosexuality in school. If the bill is approved by lawmakers and signed by the governor, instructors could lose their jobs or their tenure if they violate the mandate.
State Senator Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) has been trying to advance the bill for years, but Don’t Say Gay recently gained traction when Republicans won control of the governor’s mansion, House and Senate for the first time since the Civil War era, according to the media outlet.
Campfield has cited cases in Massachusetts and California, where children as young as 5 have been taught about gay issues. He claims that teachers in some States have made a concerted effort to fight anti-gay discrimination by discussing homosexuality in class.
Jonathan Cole, chairman of the the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), a gay-rights organization, told the media outlet that Don’t Say Gay is a ploy to advance a social agenda in schools. He also predicted that this bill, if approved, would increase the risk of suicide among gay students.
“If a child is experiencing issues relating to their sexual orientation or identity, they would be unable to discuss those issues with the adults who are supervising and teaching them,” TEP wrote in a Change.org petition.