My views do not represent my school, my employer, any organization to which I belong, my family, my church, the organization that promotes this blog, etc. My views come from my heart and from my experiences as a teacher/librarian since the mid 1980′s. I am invoking my right to Free Speech.
- I want the legislators to stop telling me every word I can and cannot say.
- I want families/parents to be able to educate their own children.
- I want all children to feel valued.
- I do not want legislators to muzzle my mouth.
- I want to be able to decide during the teachable moment what is the most appropriate way to handle a situation that occurs.
Let me give you an example. While I am reading to a group of students reminding them to talk to their own families about a topic (any topic), if a child yells out, “I can’t tell my mom and dad, I have to tell my dad and my two mom’s”, I want to be able to simply state, “There are many types of families. Be sure to talk to the important people in your family.”
I do not want to shudder and gasp and make being part of a same-sex family a stigma to these elementary children. They did not decide their family’s make-up. They deal with what they have. I will not react negatively so as to stigmatize this child just because some of the other students have “more traditional heterosexual families” and different values.
Unfortunately if you follow the news, there are lawmakers who are very concerned that any discussion of human sexuality, except for natural human reproduction science, occurs before ninth grade. Here are some links to the so-called “Don’t say gay bill”:
- House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley is quoted as stating “I really don’t know the purpose in bringing this legislation again,” he said. “It looks to me to be a solution looking for a problem.” http://www.tennessean.com/interactive/article/20120216/NEWS/302160021/-Don-t-Say-Gay-bill-advances
Librarians and teachers should be concerned with legislation like this. February 29th is a day to focus on anti-bullying behavior, yet we allow legislation that promotes bullying to be considered?
What type of society are we becoming when I have to pretend homosexuality does not exist when some of my students live daily in same-sex families?
Will I face persecution by educational officials again for stating my own views? Will someone attempt to send me to the classroom again? Will some of my colleagues suggest that I just be quiet about this so I don’t get in to trouble? These are questions in my mind. What are on yours?
HB 0229 by *Hensley ( *SB 0049 by *Campfield) Education, Curriculum – As introduced, prohibits the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10.
Since I do believe in providing teaching materials to educators and librarians, here are Patricia A. Sarles’ latest updates on her blog Gay-Themed Picture Books for Children: Picture books for children about the experience of knowing or having a gay parent, family member or friend.
If you haven’t joined NEA’s Bully Free: It Starts With Me campaign, you can still sign the pledge.