Local school boards in Tennessee and people who run charter schools could have more legal powers to create their own quarantine policies and implement those policies in an emergency.
This, according to a bill that members of the Tennessee General Assembly filed this month.
State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) (pictured left) and State Representative Brandon Ogles (R-Franklin) (pictured right) are sponsoring the bill.
Members of the Williamson County-based Tennessee Stands endorsed the bill in an emailed newsletter to supporters last week.
“This bill actually deals with the root cause of learning loss,” said Tennessee Stands spokesman Gary Humble in a video he uploaded to YouTube.
“I wish it was stronger and had more teeth to it, but it is a step in the right direction.”
Tennessee law currently empowers a local commissioner of health to declare a quarantine whenever, in the commissioner’s judgment, the public welfare requires it.
But Henley’s and Ogles’ bill specifies that no one can act against a local board of education or public charter school for losses, damages, injuries, or death unless the claimant proves gross negligence or willful misconduct.
“It removes liability from the school board for policies they put in place regarding quarantining. It also protects the local school board,” Humble said.
Humble also said that the bill, if legislators vote to enact it, holds school board officials accountable for their decisions and prevents them from using local health departments as scapegoats.
“Certainly this could go south because it also gives the local school board the right to make some really, really bad policies,” Humble said.
“But here is why, all in all, this bill is a good thing. It’s because of one of my favorite words: accountability. Wouldn’t you like to be able to point to someone and hold someone accountable for the policies that are being put in place?”
As The Tennessee Star reported Saturday, Tennessee Stands petitioned Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slattery to take legal action against social media censorship.
The nonprofit social advocacy organization submitted the letter Wednesday. The letter cited former U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order pertaining to online censorship, issued last May, as an example.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “State Sen. Joey Hensley” by State Sen Joey Hensley and “State Rep Brandon Ogles” is by State Rep Brandon Ogles.