Hey, you know that absolutely terrible bill in Tennessee that would require schools to out gay kids to their parents if the kids say they’re gay? And also that OTHER idiotic bill that would cut poor families’ welfare benefits if their kids fail in school? Somehow, what with Your Wonkette being written by people who are not actually (*shudder!*) from Tennessee, we didn’t notice that both bills were the brainchildren of state Senator Stacey Campfield, who is running a strong campaign for Wonkette’s coveted Legislative Shitmuffin Of The Year Award. Sen. Campfield is so very sure of brilliance of his retooled “Don’t Say You’re Gay” bill that he took to the comments section of the Knoxville News Sentinel to defend it. And he’s every bit as douchey and obtuse as you might expect!
First off, Campfield explains — posting with username “The_Sen” because he has to be cuntily self-important in everything — that people have been totally off in characterizing his bill as stigmatizing gay kids:
What the bill actually says on counseling.
(2) A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well- being of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student’s parents or legal guardians.”
Who doesn’t think a parent should be notified when their child is doing something injurious to their mental or physical health?
Sen. Stacey Campfield
See? It’s because he cares. He then plays the straw-man hypocrisy card: Anyone who opposes this commonsense proposal wants kids to be endangered:
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So let me get this right. You will fight for funding for AIDS research becauseyou know it is a deadly disease that kills people. I (hopefully) think you would be against a little child being sexually exploited by an adult. Yet you think if a child tells a counselor about it that it should kept quiet and that parents shouldn’t be told.
Kevin Jennings would be so proud of your “enlightened” position.
(That “Kevin Jennings” comment is right-wing shorthand for “you love child molesters,” and is based on some thoroughly debunked claims about Jennings, an Obama Administration education appointee. It’s far too complicated to untangle here, but it’s notable that even though the claims were taken apart in detail three years ago, Campfield still uses Jennings’ name as a smear. Once something has been said in Wingnut Media, it remains true, because fact-checking is all liberal spin.)
Several readers respond to this obvious change in topic, pointing out that telling a counselor “I think I might be gay” is slightly different from saying “I’m being abused.” Campfield will have none of that nonsense:
I think it is easy to say a child (and that’s what we are talking about) being sexually abused is something that is clearly harmful to a child and fits the definition. What you want it to say and what it says are two different things. I quoted directly from the bill.
Campfield really loves quoting his bills, because they are completely unambiguous and he wrote them. He also blithely ignores the fact that if reporting abuse is his purpose, Tennessee already mandates it, and once more suggests that no reasonable person can disagree with him, because won’t someone think about protecting children?
Still waiting for a list of all of you that dont think a parent should be notified when a little child is “engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well- being of the student or another person”
Please. Let us all know where you stand.
When readers point out that outing gay kids to homophobic parents might result in the parents’ beating the kid, Stacey says nuh-uh, read the bill! And then, when a reader points out that the bill’s only exclusion from the mandate to notify is “if there is reasonable cause to believe that the parent or legal guardian may be the perpetrator or in any way responsible for sexual abuse of the student,” Campfield attempts to sidestep the language of his own bill:
No, it is talking about when the child is being exploited by the parent that the parent shall not be notified about the counseling.
Generalized eye-rolling then ensues. And then finally, a reader tries to actually pin Stacey down to an actual position on what would have to be reported (it’s a bit long, but worth quoting in full):
So, if I’m understanding the bill you are proposing, you are saying the following…
1.) A child can go to a school counselor or be directed to a school counselor to talk about issues of sexual orientation (not abuse), without having to fear his/her parents will be contacted.
2.) A counselor may speak confidentially with a child regarding same-sex attractions without fear that he/she will be reprimanded or fired for having done so; if the child raises the issue.
3.) The only reason a teacher, nurse, principal, counselor, etc would need to contact a child’s parents/authorities is if there is knowledge that inappropriate sexual intercourse or any other abuse is taking place (unsafe sex, sexual abuse by an adult, etc.)
4.) This bill would in no way force counselors, principals, teachers, etc. to contact a child’s parents if the child seeks support or counseling regarding their own feelings of attraction toward someone of the same gender.
5.) Since the normal development of a child includes crushes, hand-holding, hugging, kissing, and fondling (in some cases with pre-teens), your bill would in no way forbid a counselor, nurse, principal or teacher from educating a child (pre-K through 8th) with regards to age appropriate, safe sex practices.
6.) If a child or children, within the appropriate setting (i.e. health class) brings up the issue of homosexuality, the teacher is allowed to discuss the matter without fear of retribution or dismissal.
I believe these are the fears of the people who are posting on the board. If you can address these issues to their satisfaction, I’m sure folks might understand your proposed bill a little better.
To which “The_Sen” appends his final comment of the thread: “That’s how I read it.”
No further explanation, no further appearances by “The_Sen,” and of course, no clarifications. So is he actually claiming no kids will be outed by his bill? He seems to be, but if that’s the case, he appears to be advocating for a bill that simply duplicates the reporting requirements that are already in Tenessee law. Needless to say, his “read” of the bill is iffy — this is a guy who sincerely believes that cutting welfare benefits will inspire poor parents to help their children with their homework, so what really matters is how the bill is implemented, if the stupid thing is even passed.
So here ends our look at a local elected official interacting with constituents. We look forward to additional news of Sen Stacey Campfield, in our continuing series on “Civil Discourse As Practiced By Disingenuous Weasels.”
[Knoxville News Sentinel via alert tipster “Janet”]