Missouri’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill
HB 2051, introduced by Representative Steve Cookson (R), would “prohibit the discussion of sexual orientation in public school instruction, material, or extracurricular activity, except in scientific instruction on human reproduction.”
This bill would have the immediate effect of banning the more than 80 Gay/Straight Alliances (GSA Clubs) that meet in Missouri high schools to help teen-agers who are struggling with their sexual identity.
Dwight Scharnhorst, (R), co-sponsored the bill and told the national Huffington Post news website that teaching about LGBT issues in public schools would lead to other discussions and “there is no need to talk about Billy wanting to marry a goat.” I wonder why Republicans always compare gay marriage to wanting to marry a farm animal? Closed minds, I suppose.
In defense of his bill, Representative Cookson said that schools are struggling financially and should focus on math, science and reading. True, but the 80 GSA Alliance Clubs meet after school, and do not take away from classroom time.
We hear on the news every week about another child who commits suicide because of bullying at school. This bill would prevent such a troubled child from talking to his teacher, his school counselor or his principal about being bullied because he is gay.
Some school districts in Missouri changed their anti-harassment policies to include sexual orientation. Now the legislature will tell them they can no longer comply with their own policies that attempt to reduce bullying in schools.
Imagine the teen in Missouri who is gay and being bullied every day. Some of these teens can’t talk to their families about this. If this bill passes they won’t be able to talk to a teacher, counselor or principal who may be able to help them. This can only result in more suicides.
If you can reduce bullying, students who are no longer being bullied will perform better. Schools will perform better. How can you achieve increased performance if you continue to allow harassment and bullying of students who are gay?
Someday our grandchildren will study in their history classes, the treatment of women, minorities and gays in our society, and particularly in this election year. I think they may be ashamed of us.