Locals React To “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Passage

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On Friday, the Tennessee Senate took a stand about what can and cannot be talked about in public schools when it comes to homosexuality. The answer is nothing, at least when it comes to kindergarten through 8th grades. If this bill becomes law, Tennessee would become the first state to enact such a ruling. Jackson-Madison County schools do not touch the subject of homosexuality, and now a bill passed by the state Senate would require all public elementary and middle schools to follow suit, if they have not done so already. Drew Baker, with the Tennessee Equality Project, says, “We call it the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill.” Baker has fought tirelessly against Senate Bill 49. Baker, adds, “They have more important things to do than to pick on us.” Baker watches every piece of legislation that affects his community, and this has him shaking his head. Baker, says, “Why waste time passing laws to basically discriminate against a group of people, when we need jobs in this state and we need industry.” But other community members in Jackson feel just the opposite, that it is time well spent. Betty Sails, a resident, says, “I don’t think it should be brought up in school, especially elementary schools.” The sponsor of the bill says the current state curriculum is not clear on what can be taught, and that is why they are pushing for this to become law. Sails, adds, “The kids are too young to understand or begin to understand anything like that. Later on, maybe in high school, 10th or 12th grade maybe.” With no word yet on if this bill will, in fact, become law, Superintendent Nancy Zambito, says, if a child asks a question about homosexuality in her district, she expects their teacher to just say “ask your mother.” The proposal was approved in the Senate, Friday by a vote of 19 to 11. It will now head to a house committee for consideration.

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