Friday, May 20, 2011

In Tennessee: A New Bill can allows Parents to take Students out of GSAs

That damn Stacey Campfield, now he has introduced SB 0426, a bill that would give parents control over what extracurricular activities students are involved in. the funny part is, this is targeted towards Gay-Straight Alliances.

Here's the key piece:
(b) No school shall permit a student to become a member or participate in any activities of a club or organization if the parent or legal guardian of such student has tendered a written communication prohibiting such student from such membership or participation. In order to be valid, the written communication shall be signed and dated by the parent or legal guardian.

The distinction seems negligible. Even if students can join a club without needing permission, this would still allow parents to pull them right back out. It’s unclear, as written, whether parents would be notified of what clubs students are participating in, but regardless, the bill would make students feel much less free to explore interests or access resources they might need.

Though numerous individual school districts have tried to prevent the formation of GSAs by threatening to cancel all clubs at the school (a strategy that the ACLU successfully legally opposes each time), only one other state has taken legislative steps to try to stymie the growth of the clubs. Utah passed Student Clubs Amendments in 2007 designed to create numerous obstacles to forming clubs, but GSAs are thriving there nonetheless, with now more than 32 statewide.
What is Stacey's issue with us? I can't believe he is  making such a big deal about this. Does he want our students to feel and supported? What gives?


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Viktor is a small town southern boy living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Twitter, writing about pop culture, politics, and comics. He’s the creator of the graphic novel StrangeLore and currently getting back into screenwriting.