NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee Senate panel on Wednesday advanced legislation requiring school districts to alert parents of any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity, allowing them to opt their student out of such instruction.
Supporters of the bill argued it’s needed to strengthen parental rights and rebuffed concerns that it could further alienate students already marginalized.
“Some parents want to protect their minor children from the real world as much as they can,” said Sen. Joey Hensley, a Republican from Hohenwald.
According to the bill, school districts would have 30 days to alert parents or guardians of upcoming instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity. Families could then opt their student out of the learning without being penalized.
The proposal now heads to the full Senate chamber for consideration.
“My heart goes out to the children and families who don’t feel welcome in their own state,” said Sen. Raumesh Akbari, a Democrat from Memphis, in opposition.