Image Credit: Wilson County Schools
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
Wilson County residents showed up at Monday night’s regularly scheduled school board meeting to make public comments regarding discussion surrounding parental rights that some of the community took as an attack on “queer kids.”
During a work session last week, Zone 4 School Board Member Joseph Padilla asked the board if there was a policy in place that would ensure that parents were informed if their child is having struggles with identifying as their natal gender.
Padilla stated that in some other states there are policies in which teachers inform parents within three days of the situation coming to their attention.
As a result of that work session, outraged LGBTQ allies in Wilson County took the conversation as an attack on trans-identifying students, encouraging residents to show up Monday night to speak against any possible proposal they assumed might be brought up.
Despite an official proposal never being presented, an hour and a half of spirited comments came from the public, which included Padilla being accused of making “bigoted comments and proposing discriminatory policies that target LGBTQ students.”
Padilla stated that “just because I’m for parents, doesn’t mean I’m against children.”
Comments came from the public as well calling pro-parental rights group Moms for Liberty, “Moms for Aryan Liberty,” even though they were not present at the meeting and had nothing to do with the meeting’s discussions or the issues addressed during the meeting.
According to the Zone 4 School Board Member, school systems across the country have been sued in similar circumstances where parents were not notified of their child’s struggles surrounding their gender. As a member of the board, Padilla said it is his job “to protect our teachers, to protect our district and to protect, you know, the county budget.”
Zone 2 School Board Member Dr. Beth Meyers said creating such a policy would be “a procedural nightmare” and that there was already “enough law in place” that protects parents’ rights. “The federal government and the Supreme Court has made it clear that parents have the right to know what’s going on with their children in the school system,” said Meyers.
Wilson County Schools Superintendent Jeff Luttrell, recently named Superintendent of the Year, also agreed that no policy is needed and that school counselors should work with parents to meet the needs of the child.
“I agree that we don’t need a policy,” Luttrell said, “We need to trust our professionals and we need to support them and these are difficult situations for everybody.”
Luttrell went on to say that a time limit should never be put into play, saying that such language in other states is being challenged and that anytime the board undertakes to create a new policy that they need to look at “what is the compelling educational interest in the policy.”
Two books were also addressed at Monday’s meeting. The county’s book review committee recommended keeping Redhood by Elana K. Arnold on the Mature Reading List, making note that the book was not in any Middle School Media Centers and should not be purchased for Middle Schools.
Dr. Meyers made a motion that prompted the board to vote on whether to remove the book entirely from the county’s high schools due to “sexual encounters in excruciating detail” and a “front row seat of the sex act” but the motion failed and the book will remain on the Mature Reading List.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, a book that BookLooks.org says contains “alternate sexualities, alternate gender ideologies, profanity, alcohol use, suicide commentary, controversial religious commentary, sexual activities, and sexual nudity” was recommended to be withdrawn from circulation. This is the first time since the book review committee’s inception that it has made a recommendation to have a book removed from county schools. The board voted unanimously to accept the committee’s recommendation.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at email@example.com.