Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield has proposed legislation that would require a counselor or other school official who learns that a student has engaged in homosexual activity to report this information to the student's parents. But for the second time in two years, Campfield appears to have introduced a bill on homosexuality his governor doesn't like.
TN Sen. Stacey Campfield
The language of Campfield's Senate Bill 234, called the "Classroom Protection Act," states that counselors, in addition to principals, assistant principals, and nurses, shall notify the parents or guardians of a student "whose circumstances present immediate and urgent safety issues involving human sexuality." Campfield, a Republican, told reporters this week that the "urgent safety issues" include homosexual activity by students.
In a separate section of the legislation, the bill requires that school officials counseling a student "who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person" also notify parents or guardians about this. If that language can be interpreted to mean that homosexual activity would be classified as also "injurious" to physical or mental health, then it appears to further expand the responsibilities of school officials. Presumably they would have to report students who may be engaging in such activity, although it's not entirely clear strictly from the bill's language.
How exactly officials would be allowed to determine that students might be engaging in such activity, or are "at risk" of doing so, is left unsaid. (Classroom teachers are not specifically mentioned in the two relevant sections of the bill.)
Not surprisingly, Campfield's legislation has drawn national media attention, with headlines reporting that his bill would require school officials to essentially "out" gay students. Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, has reported distanced himself from the bill, saying it looked similar to a previous bill the senator had introduced.
That's a reference to 2011, when Campfield introduced Senate Bill 49, quickly dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would have prohibited discussion of homosexuality in school for K-8 students. In a preview of his position this year, Haslam announced that he did not support the 2011 bill, which ultimately failed to make it to Haslam's desk....
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Gay Students' Sexual Activity Would Be Reported Under Tenn. Bill
This from State Ed Watch: