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April 26th, 2011
11:33 AM ET

Sex Education Bills

Click here to check out proposed California Senate Bill 48 that changes the Education Code to add gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender contributions to social sciences studies.

Click here to read the proposed legislation, Tennessee Senate Bill 0049, that prohibits teachers from including homosexuality in sex education studies to elementary and middle school students.

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Christopher Quesenberry

    I have news for the gentleman from the Tennessee senate: prohibiting the mention of "gay", "lesbian" or "bisexual" is like trying to keep teachers from saying that the sky is blue and the grass is green. His homophobic legislation makes me sad to think that I was born in Tennessee and that people like him are engendering a society of hate, homophobia and distrust. How would he handle teachers who have students from homes with same sex parents? Shame on you!

    April 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  2. James

    The Senator still does not realize that homosexuality is not a choice but our sexual orientation is set at a very young age. The anti gay bill will only increase hatred & bullying of gay children & adults.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  3. otto borden

    When i was taught sex ed thats what we talked about reproduction between a man and a woman there is really no need for teachers to go beyond that because the truth is the truth.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  4. nicole

    I live in Middle Tennessee, and can't believe this proposed legislation to NOT explain gay in school sex ed classes. My son is 9, in 3rd grade and we have HAD to explain gay because of other KIDS in his class who pick up the WRONG information from older siblings. Perhaps the teachers can support us parents in discussing this very difficult topic. Not by making any judgement on people's sexuality, but simply stating the simple facts to a class if needed. Most of the time the kids DO NOT want gory details, they just want simple answers. Simply saying it is when 2 people of the same sex are in love and choose to spend their lives together might just be enough! Maybe if they did this the older siblings who are spreading the wrong info might be more well educated in what they are talking about. it is 2011, people get over it, there are more pressing issues than gay/lesbian/bi relationships...when can we just move on!

    April 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  5. Gisele

    I have taught high school for years and speaking as an educator, this would make my job difficult. We are often presented with a situation of dealing with students of different orientations and must be able to talk about the dynamics in the classroom itself. We can't just bury our heads and pretend that these students don't exist. Often these students are bullied or picked on in some way... If we can't talk about what is going on, how do we deal with it?

    April 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  6. Nicole

    Okay, as a native Tennesseean, I am disgusted by this bill. I am a junior in high school, and I feel that it is an embarrassment to the state and portrays us as a bunch of bigoted jerks. Really, all this bill does is breed a generation of ignorant and misinformed children. In this day and age, sheltering kids from reality is just plain stupid. Kids will find out eventually about homosexuality, and hiding them from its existence is just unrealistic. The senator proposing this bill stated that his main concern is teachers showing a bias for or against homosexuality. My response to to that is really? That is your only concern? I think he's just homophobic and wants to shelter kids. The California legislation is great. It will lead to more tolerance and just an all around better community.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  7. Dustin M.

    I'm so happy America has never been at war where men and women had to defend our rights to be free and defend our constitution; because that would mean the thousands and thousands of US service men and women would have died for nothing if some bigoted republican can pass a bill making it illegal to say a word. I have a word for you, sir: Pathetic.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  8. Michael Dancheck

    I am not gay but I do respect the rights of each person to make their own decisions about what makes them happy. What about the rights of the children who may be gay or lesbian? Should they not be made to feel comfortable about their sexuality too? Gay is not contagious, at least the last time I checked....

    April 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  9. Rob

    Hmmmm... The "Don't say gay" bill seems to have it's roots in intolerance, but will hamper the quality of eduction in the state.

    What about the well-researched and documented cases of same-sex (homosexual) in the animal kingdom?

    "Teacher, I saw two boy monkeys at the zoo doing....." would have to be answered with: "Tennessee Senate Bill 0049 prohibits me from answering that question."

    April 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Tony

    as for the proposed bill in TN... as a gay man myself, i find that quite offensive! I finally came to terms with my sexuality 20 years ago and went through great turmoil from the internal conflicts inside me. I come from a religious area. Being gay is certainly not a choice! When you are raised to be straight and on the inside that just feels wrong. It just seems like this bill is taking steps backwards! The gay community has made great strides to help the youth of today to let them know that there is nothing wrong with them. This bill will do nothing more then go backwards with education! And push people back in the closet. Not to mention add to turmoil to the youths who would be brought up not knowing what the word gay means. Add to the internal conflict of what they feel inside and what society as a whole is trying to tell them is wrong!
    stop the madness!!

    April 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  11. Chris Hebert

    The state of Tennessee should be ashamed of this Bill. Many students in those classes are gay, or bisexual and deserve to be properly educated about issues that affect them. Also, school should be educating students to be empathetic and respectful. Banning the word and topic creates a toxic environment of fear for all.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  12. jcwillreturn

    As a father of three, I would rather have this conversation with my children at home. Sex Eduaction, especially conversations about homosexuality, should be conversations that the parents address.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  13. Chris J

    The Tennessee bill is absolutely ridiculous! Being from Alabama, homosexuality is something not too often discussed. I knew I was different from other males in my school by late elementary and early middle school. Had homosexuality been discussed as a real status and not a religious abomination, I may have avoided the years of hardship, mental struggle, and emotional damage sustained through my high school years. Though not a victim myself, I saw kids bullied for their supposed sexuality. It is amazing what can be avoided when you simply open dialog in an environment like a classroom.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  14. Barbara O'Brien Arato

    I would think if sex education is talking about reproduction how can you speak of homosexuals except in a negative way. So just as in a science class one can not rely on the God word for answers, it would seem somewhat complicated to include the homosexual life style while discussing heterosexual reproduction.

    I think the Word Homosexual is not as sacred as the Word GOD and yet GOD Himself has been forbidden in Public Schools.

    Can you not see the way the Education System has been directed?

    April 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  15. Matt

    As a social justice teacher its interesting that ban on the word gay is based on the idea that heterosexuality is used for reproductive purposes. Then the legislation should clearly ban the use of the word condoms, birth control, or any word that possibly hints at the idea that sex can occur with out reproduction. The senators defense argument that what if a teacher began saying being gay is "evil" is also clearly flawed. What if a teacher starting began teaching women's right to vote is "evil" or African American's are "evil". Maybe we should just ban the world evil. Our country needs to stop the oppressive forces at work grained into our culture. This bill is a disgrace.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  16. amanda wilhite

    I was born and raised in tenn I am 24 yrs old now and I am a proud lesbian I went to public schools in cookeville and I'm gay because of my choice because its who I am and proud to be. Going to public school learning all the facts of sexuality without the focus on gay or homosexual words ever being spoken. And yet I still am a lesbian because bottom line learning about it or not. Just because its out of sight out of mind sort of speak. You are who you are and if your 5 yrs old to 14 and still having homosexual tendencies no bill will change you. My son is 10 yrs old and has grown up his whole life and understands mommy is gay. He loves going to pride in nashville in the summer. So is the schools gonna teach that his mom is wrong. After all it is all he knows and he feels the same way strongly that no law can change the real you. Thank you

    April 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  17. Edward H. Wilson

    Would you please convay my request to Senator , PLAY OSTRICH AND STICK YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND. You don't suppose that these children haven't heard about "HOMO" at least let them start out without prejuudice by knowing that these are just" people" with a different life style without a detailed discription would be within reason.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  18. Beth S.

    Congratulations, Tennessee legislature, 90 years later and you still haven't learned your lessons from the Scopes Monkey Trial. You can't legislate words and ideas out of existence. If we could I would choose the words, "bigot" and "stupid" – unfortunately, that wouldn't change the state of things.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  19. Diana

    April 26th, 2011 1:50 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    they can teach 11 year olds about sex but now there is a bill being passed that you can't talk about homosexuality!? Ridiculous! Stacy Campfield needs to get over his homophobia and if he feels that schools can teach about sex then the schools can teach them about everything! Not every child comes out homosexual and not every child comes out straight and it still needs to be discussed at home and at schools. if it is never taught then when the children are older they find out that a classmate is a homosexual and it leads to bullying because they are NOT being taught that its ok to be straight or homosexual. i mean of course it is sex education but it is wrong to try and make a child feel left out because of his or her sexual orientation. obviously he has not seen the bullying that goes on.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  20. Geoffrey Grimes

    I support the Tennessee representaive's ideal to reframe from having those discussions in the classroom. As a parent of an 11 year old, it is "solely" my responsibility to educate "my" child in the areas of human sexuality. If a "PUBLIC" education system wishes to teach sex education to my child it should be done in a TOTALLY NEUTRAL FORM.
    If my memory serves correctly; when I had Sex Ed. we talked about "Human Reproduction." So.... until two persons of the same sex can have intercourse and produce a baby, I'll stick to a non-all inclusive sex ed class.

    April 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  21. Dana

    I agree with the Senator.This government would rather premote this perverted life style than Religion.I compare gays and lesbians to B&D and S&M and I'll bet they don't teach that in school.

    April 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  22. Peter Couto

    All kinds of sexuality should be taught in my point of view. When it comes to sexual attraction no matter the color of skin, gender or social class. There are many examples today and in our past, nationwide and worldwide. Schools serve as general education centers and it should cover a material that applies to all and not only to certain racial group. Talking about all kinds of sexuality in schools may answer questions or feelings that our little ones may have and might be afraid to ask or comment even with their parents.

    April 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  23. Brent

    The Senator said two words together that say it all, "sexuality choice". It is truly sad to see this level ignorance displayed by an intelligent individual. Perhaps if the Senator was gay he would understand why his bill is so wrong. But, you don't need to be homosexual to know that being respectful of others says a lot about ones character and those two words say volumes about his respect for gays. 1 out of 20 people are homosexual, Get out and Vote!

    April 26, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  24. Sherri

    Why are you expecting teachers to teach about homosexuality in sexual reproduction classes? Teachers are not permitted to teach on Christianity in school, even though this country was founded on Christianity. Let the parents teach their own children, in their own homes with their own words about homosexuality. There are some issues that are better talked about at home. I don't feel it's the schools responsibility or the teachers.

    April 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  25. John from Erie, Pa

    With all of the TV programming its time to stop sheltering children about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people living among us. Are these parents afraid that if their children hear about this they will catch some disease that will make them gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender ? If a parent doesn't want their children to know about these people then they should take away the TV's, computers and cellphones and start home schooling their children.

    April 27, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  26. Bob in Texas

    Ali, Education is about imparting knowledge, not hiding it. It's about enlightenment not ignorance. Whether the topic is the accomplishments of prominent gays, or other minorities or the functioning of human reproduction and sex, the fools that want to pursue a bigoted religious agenda by banning knowledge need to be stopped.

    May 2, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  27. d

    i don't trust a teacher who might be gay or gay-friendly teaching my kids about sexual education. i want to teach my children the values that i think are right and protect them against the values that i think are wrong. aren't all parents like that? doesn't that make sense? kids are just so impressionable at that age and i really think that's when the seeds of homosexuality are planted...before kids have the maturity to recognize that that lifestyle is wrong AND before they have the maturity to resist the message.

    May 17, 2011 at 12:52 am |
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