The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) has issued an "action alert" to its members, asking them to email Tennessee legislators to oppose two bills that require parental consent for students to participate in clubs.

"Two bills TEP is tracking will be heard Wednesday, April, 11 at 9 a.m. in the Senate Education Committee (Legislative Plaza Room 12).  At stake is a policy decision about parental involvement in their child’s school extracurricular activities," said the alert issued by TEP.

"The motive of this bill (SB 1133) is clearly not parental involvement," said Christopher Sanders, president of TEP. "If they wanted to focus on parental involvement, wouldn't have they started with homework, which is the core of the educational experience. We know that free access to GSAs (gay straight alliances) makes the school environment safer for children and increases the likelihood that they will graduate. What could me more important than that?"

The bills are SB 1133 by Dwayne Bunch (R-Cleveland) and SB 2162 by Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey). Senator Bunch’s bill requires parental consent for students to participate in clubs, and is the same bill as Rep. Hill’s in the House.  Senator Burks’ bill allows directed parental and guardian involvement with children in school activities such as chaperoning field trips, fundraising events and working with after school clubs.

"We need your help NOW to block Bunch’s bill and pass Senator Burks’ legislation," TEP told its members. "The Burks bill calls for “hands on” parental involvement. Meanwhile the Bunch bill, which seemingly mandates parental “interest”, has too many unintended consequences.  A clear example would be a child having his or her only outlet for camaraderie stifled by disinterested parents failing to sign a document—no matter what club the child may chose to join."

The email also asks TEP members to "please call Senate Education Committee members and voice your support of SB 2162 by Burks and your disapproval of SB 1133."

Sanders told Out & About Newspaper to urge its readers to call and write their legislators.

"They (legislators) pay attention to the number of contacts they receive from constitutes," he said.

For more information visit TEP here.


This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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