Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My letter in response to the "Don't say gay" bill

As you may have heard, a senator in my state of Tennessee is trying to get a bill passed through the senate (and it's already passed a committee) essentially saying that discussions, books, or any other material that mentions anything other than heterosexuality are not welcome in elementary or middle schools.

My very first thoughts went to the kids who have committed suicide because they were bullied. In some cases those kids were just perceived to be gay.

I have heard of letters that authors like Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, Maureen Johnson & countless others have received from kids thanking them for their books because they gave the kids a voice & showed them that they were not alone.

How can anyone who cares for the well being of kids think this is a good idea? I see my first job as a protector of these kids-whether they are in my classroom or not. That's why I wrote a letter to my senator and representative (because the House has a similar bill that hasn't moved yet-HB0229).

If you live in TN, please contact your senator and them him/her to STOP this bill.
Here is my letter:

As a middle school teacher in a TN public school I am deeply concerned about this so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill (SB0049). It is my understanding that as an educator I wouldn't be allowed to acknowledge the fact that students are gay. Please don't forget the recent headlines where kids- some of them in middle school- committed suicide because they were gay or just perceived to be gay. Don't tie our hands where we cannot
address these situations. Don't silence these kids who are struggling with who they are by banning novels that deal with similar situations.
Ask any young adult author who writes on these subjects just how powerful & lifesaving their novels are & ask them how many kids write to them to tell them that.

Be bold enough to say no to this intolerance. Say no to this dangerous bill.


David said...

Way to go Sandi. This bill is ridiculous. I hope it has been tabled for now.

Aris Whittier said...

I'm so glad you wrote a letter. If "we" don't speak up our voices won't ever be heard.