Teachers Forced to Out Gay Students? Tennessee’s New “Classroom Protection Act” Proposed

Senator Campfield says, “the new version is completely different, and gets rid of some of the old perceptions” about the “don’t say gay” legislation.

Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, has introduced a new bill, SB234, or the “Classroom Protection Act” which would allow schools to counsel students on homosexuality, but would also require that the parents be notified that the counseling had occurred. This is actually just a new version of legislation that in the past was branded the “don’t say gay” bill. Critics of the older legislation, which was approved by the Tennessee Senate in 2011, but later died in the House and never became law, argue that teachers could be “prohibited” from answering questions or counseling students if their questions or concerns have anything to do with  homosexuality.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the new bill would basically prohibit, “classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction,” in grades kindergarten through eighth. It also absolutely forbids a teacher from answering any questions “related to the subject being taught” based on what they believe to be true and only allows for them to answer in the manner outlined by the law. The bill would allow school nurses and counselors, principals, and assistant principals to counsel students. However, the bill goes on to say that the “parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred.”

While it is important for parents to be informed if there is a danger to their children’s health or safety, requiring the school to notify parents when their child has sought out counseling could potentially cause more harm than good by discouraging students from reaching out for help when dealing with such issues as dating or sexual abuse, bullying, homosexuality, or suicidal thoughts. . And barring the teachers, who have more direct contact on a daily basis and build individual relationships with students, from answering important questions and counseling when necessary cuts out an important avenue for troubled teens who may feel like there is no one else to turn to.

Campfield has responded to these criticisms by saying, “it’s ridiculous to say we should shield parents from that information,” concerning a students potential homosexual activity, which, according to the senator, poses a danger due to AIDS and STDs. He said, “I think it’s important that, if they’re doing something that’s potentially dangerous or life-threatening, that you should get parents involved.” But if that is the case, then any sexual activity at all, whether hetero- or homosexual should be reported to parents, because AIDS and STDs are not only a concern for gay students but for any students who are sexually active.

Unfortunately, statements such as this come as no surprise from Senator Campfield. In fact, these are significantly mild compared to some of the other things he has said publicly about homosexuality and AIDS. Last year, in defense of the original “don’t say gay” bill, Newser quoted Campfield as saying,

  • On “Don’t Say Gay”: “If someone, a person of influence, says maybe you’re gay, maybe you should explore those things—maybe the child, who is young and impressionable, says maybe I am gay.”
  • On AIDS: “Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community—it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.”
  • On heterosexual sex: “My understanding is that it is virtually—not completely, but virtually—impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex … very rarely [transmitted].”
  • On gay men: “What’s the average lifespan of a homosexual? it’s very short. Google it yourself.”

While one can only hope this new version of the old bill isn’t passed into law in Tennessee, the fact that there are people who actually believe as Senator Campfield does in positions of power is discouraging.

Photo: AP/File

About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She has 2 beautiful children, and is very happily un-married to her life partner DJ.


  1. “Campfield has responded to these criticisms by saying, “it’s ridiculous to say we should shield parents from that information,” concerning a students potential homosexual activity.”

    Beyond all the crap Campfield is spewing about HIV/AIDS that is totally wrong…the above statement is perhaps the worst (in my eyes). That, right there, shows how much he totally just does NOT get it. No one, absolutely no one, is suggesting we “shield parents from that information.” What we are saying is that we need to shield children from intolerant parents.

    Something like 40% of homeless youth are LGBT.


    • Amen to that, Heather. I’ve known too many kids abused and kicked out by parents who rejected them due to their sexual orientation. The kids need their privacy and the right to safety and outing them takes that away.

  2. A doctor once told me that during straight sex the woman is Hiv positive the man has a 8% chance of getting infected while if the man was infected the woman has a 21% chance of getting infected.

    Sounds like a high chance to me either way

    • wellokaythen says:

      If that’s true, then young women should be encouraged to have sex with each other instead of men. Young people should be encouraged to masturbate or engage in form of sexuality that does not exchange bodily fluids. If sex ed really is all about sex without risk of disease….

  3. wellokaythen says:

    Can’t teach things that are “inconsistent with natural human reproduction”? Seriously?

    Okay, then you will need to revise the abstinence-only curriculum to get rid of all references to marriage or monogamy. If schools can only talk about sex as reproduction, then schools will be banned from adding on all that social and cultural baggage like “waiting until you’re married,” etc. Sex is only to be performed when both partners are fertile. No mention of sex during pregnancy or after menopause. Students should be taught that sex is only for a few days out of each month. If a student mentions in class discussion that his mother works for an IVF clinic, that student will be expelled. Students conceived with fertility treatments should be banned from campus.

    Great way to create a rich learning environment, by the way – teachers can only answer a question with a specific answer determined by law. Clever teachers can get around that anyway – “I’m tempted to tell you that masturbation is completely natural, but I’m prevented by law from saying that, so I won’t say that.”

    Besides, how can you condemn certain behaviors without mentioning them? “When you go through puberty, don’t do the things that I can’t talk about. Understand?”

    It’s so sweet that he thinks kids listen to what teachers say about sex in the first place. Your K-8 teachers are clearly the gods of our sexualized culture…..

  4. wellokaythen says:

    Pure speculation on my part, but I am assuming there’s a much greater than average chance that Sen. Campfield is himself a closeted gay man. Do not say you are shocked and surprised if a male escort comes forward at some point and makes allegations. Or, maybe it’s just Murphy’s Law and this is how the universe messes with people, his son will come out when he gets older.

  5. This makes me sick. I get so fed up with gay-hating agendas, I want them to secede. Then I remember: No, I don’t. I want them to be required to extend federal civil rights protection to its vulnerable citizens, like LGBT youth. Being an angry radical is dangerous, because half the time I just want to burn shit down, and only in the other half do I remember that this isn’t supposed to be about anger. Object lesson about my radical enemy as well as myself.

    • wellokaythen says:

      It’s a shame for the state of Tennessee as well, even beyond what the dangers to gay youngsters.

      If you’re living Tennessee, is this the educational approach you want your physician to have? If you’re a Tennessean and want your child to grow up to be a doctor, veterinarian, scientist, etc., you’ll be better off moving to a different state. Your children will start high school and college with an academic disadvantage, especially if they need to understand human biology and human sexuality for their later careers. This will create even more of a brain drain over time, and likely decrease the quality of education. If I get a degree in biology, I’d think twice about becoming a teacher in Tennessee. The more I know about human biology, the less appealing it is to teach in the state. So, how is that going to help Tennessee compete with the rest of the country and the world?

  6. John Schtoll says:

    On heterosexual sex: “My understanding is that it is virtually—not completely, but virtually—impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex … very rarely [transmitted].”

    The second part of this is kinda interesting to me becuase of the use of the term VERY RARELY. Why?

    From what I have read, the number of people who actually contract aids/hiv from having unprotected sex with someone who has it , is approx 1 in 10,000, now this means ALOT of people still get it and in fact it definately could be considered rare though for sure.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I don’t get the “homosexual kids have higher risk for AIDS” argument. If the two kids are both virgins, then what’s the danger of STD’s? If they’re virgins or monogamous with each other, It’s the same risk if they’re gay or straight.

      Shows a real lack of sexual imagination as well. Somehow heterosexuals don’t have oral sex or anal sex, only gay people?

      • wellokaythen says:

        Besides, I’m guessing that female-to-female HIV transmission is the rarest risk of all….

      • The funny thing is (well, not funny…) that in Southern states, the rates of anal & oral herpes have skyrocketed in recent years among all teens because of the lack of real sex ed. Abstinence only programs teach that getting pregnant is possibly the worst thing ever that could happen so instead of intercourse, they’re opting for anal & oral. Among LGBT teens, they’re just not being given any appropriate sex ed. Unless you count fire & brimstone lectures.

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