Tennessee's senate passed the Don't Say Gay bill, which would prohibit homosexuality from being discussed in elementary and middle schools. But they had to change the language around:
But because some of Campfield's colleagues were uncomfortable with the language used in the proposed legislation, an amendment was written, limiting any instruction or material made available or provided to a public elementary or middle school exclusively to "age-appropriate natural human reproduction science," according to The Associated Press.
Explaining that the language was fitting because "homosexuals don't naturally reproduce," Campfield said that the new wording was necessary because the state's curriculum was unclear on what could be taught.
The bill's impact would be limited to prepared lesson plans and materials, where teachers would not be allowed to say, "Today, we're going to teach about homosexuality, lesbianism," explained the Tennessean, though they could respond to questions on gay issues.
The fact that most heterosexual sex isn't procreative probably won't be brought up when actual curriculum is written here. In fact, as the state Department of Education points out, there are no lessons on homosexuality in the status quo:
Stephen Smith, assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education, shared, however, that there was nothing in the state's current curriculum standards that allowed students to be taught about homosexuality, AP reported.
This bill reminds me of school policy in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota, the school district that has had controversy after controversy on LGBT issues these past few years even though taking a stance on LGBT issues is prohibited. It turns out that whether other people are allowed to be who they are, whether they have the same value as everyone else does or whether they're inherently bad and should therefore suppress their nature, aren't the sorts of questions that one can remain neutral on.
The congressman has touted the bill as neutral and not discriminatory. It prevents talks for or against the issue, he said.
"There's some people who say we should be preaching against it, saying it's evil, dirty and wrong and there's some people who say, it's a great thing," Campfield told CNN earlier. "I don't think that's appropriate. I think we need to let the families decide that, especially in the very, very young children."
First, I'd be surprised if that's the way the bill is actually implemented. Second, when students are going around calling each other fag or giving speeches in speech class about how disgusted they are by homosexuals (a real example, I had to sit through it in 7th grade), there is no neutral for schools. Third, with all the negative messages on homosexuality that students get outside of the school, messages that are not based on fact or science but on people who just feel like talking smack, staying neutral means allowing incorrectness to flourish, which isn't what a school is supposed to be about.
Either a school thinks that gay students and the kids of gay parents are welcome there or not. There is no middle ground.
The Tennesseean says the bill won't leave house committee until 2012.