Tennessee GOP Moves to Outlaw Pride Flags in Schools

(LibertySons.org) – Republican states across the country have passed laws restricting conversations about LGBTQ+ issues in schools. Tennessee is among those states. Recently, its House pushed through a bill that would prohibit pride flags in classrooms.

On February 26, Tennessee passed the legislation banning pride flags by a vote of 70-24. The vote came after Republican lawmakers cut the debate over the bill short. House Bill 1605 seeks to prohibit teachers and administrators from displaying any flags in public schools and public charter schools unless they are the official US flag and the official Tennessee state flag. However, there are exceptions for Native American tribes, prisoners of war, prisoners who are missing in action, and other uncontroversial flags.

According to the legislation, flags that “represent a political viewpoint […] partisan, racial, sexual orientation, gender, or some other ideological viewpoint” would be expressly prohibited.

Democratic state Rep. Justin Jones, who was once expelled from the chamber, yelled at House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) for ending debate over the legislation. Jones claimed Sexton was out of order because he ignored requests from people to speak at the hearing. In response, Republicans in the House voted Jones out of order, cutting him off from speaking.

Republican Rep. Gino Bulso sponsored the bill after parents allegedly reached out to him and complained about “political flags” in classrooms. He said the state is doing what it can to make “sure parents are the ones who are allowed to instill” the values they want into their children.

There is a companion bill in the Senate moving through as well. The bill has already passed one committee and is expected to pass the full chamber as early as February 29.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is already making waves and issuing veiled threats. According to The Associated Press, the civil rights organization warned that the courts have already set a First Amendment precedent that says schools can only prohibit speech on campus if it “substantially interferes with or disrupts” the learning environment or other students’ rights.

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