Senate bill protecting teachers who refuse trans pronouns passes overwhelmingly in Tennessee

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Tennessee's Legislature/ Facebook

A bill that would protect teachers who wish to use accurate, factual language when dealing with their students is advancing in the state of Tennessee.

NBC News characterized the legislation, which would keep teachers from having to use biologically inaccurate “preferred pronouns” for students who want to pretend to be a different gender, as permission to “misgender” students.

SB 2777 would allow the staff in the Volunteer State’s public school to refuse to “use a student’s preferred pronoun when referring to the student if the preferred pronoun is not consistent with the student’s biological sex.”

It would also protect educators from “civil liability and adverse employment action” if they choose to live – and speak – in a factually accurate world and not cater to the tastes of sexually confused teen-agers.

Tennessee’s House passed the measure on April 25 in a 67-to-25 vote, and the bill advanced in a Senate committee the following day. Similar legislation has previously been proposed in West Virginia and Rhode Island but has not been through a state legislature.

The bill could be an important step toward protecting school staff from being compelled to acknowledge falsehoods for fear of losing their employment.

” … Teachers in schools can and should be required to act with professionalism and treat all of their students with dignity and respect. Nothing in this bill changes that obligation,” said Mark Cochran, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, at a House panel hearing in March. “Teachers and public school employees, however, cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs or to say things they don’t believe.”

To bolster his argument, Cochran cited the case of Nicolas Meriwether, a philosophy professor and evangelical Christian who sued his employer, Shawnee State University in Ohio, in 2018 after it rebuked him for not using inaccurate pronouns. Last year the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Meriwether’s favor. He reached a $400,000 settlement with the university earlier this month.

LGBTQ advocates have denounced the legislation, warning that not playing along with transgender youths’ fantasies could aggravate their mental health issues.

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