The General Assembly is considering a bill to enforce stricter adherence to state curriculum standards, effectively limiting LGBT instructional materials. The bill was introduced by State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) last month. State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) submitted the companion bill shortly after.
Although the House Education Instruction Subcommittee was scheduled to review the bill on Tuesday, it was rolled back to next week. Griffey told The Tennessee Star that changes will be made to the bill to refocus it on stricter adherence to enforcing current state standards – not just LGBT material in classrooms.
The current language of the bill explicitly focuses on LGBT curriculum and supplemental materials.
“[T]he commission shall not recommend or list, the state board shall not approve for local adoption or grant a waiver […] and LEAs and public charter schools shall not locally adopt or use in the public schools of this state, textbooks and instructional materials or supplemental instructional materials that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) issues or lifestyles,” reads the bill.
Griffey told The Star that he believes parents should be the primary teachers on topics like LGBT issues and lifestyles – not the state.
Griffey added that teachers can teach on subjects like LGBT lifestyles because the wording of the law doesn’t address materials outside of the main curriculum.
“Under Tennessee law, the educational instructional materials have to comply with the state standards, and the way [schools] have been getting around that is one, supplemental materials, and two, there’s a provision in state law that you can teach family life stuff as a part of the curriculum,” explained Griffey.
The preamble of the bill argued that the promotion of LGBT issues and lifestyles should be held to the same standard as religious teachings in public schools. It added that teachings on controversial social issues such as LGBT are inappropriate, and that a significant portion of students, parents, and Tennessee residents are Christians and therefore offended by these teachings.
In an interview with The Star, Griffey indicated that he would seek another bill to address CRT within curriculum as well.
As The Star reported on Tuesday, the General Assembly passed a bill restricting athlete participation based on biological sex at birth.
According to a recent Gallup poll, approximately 30 percent of young liberals identify as LGBT – about a 1 percent increase from a similar poll taken in 2017. The poll included those from 18 to 24 years old.
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