Missouri bill targets discussion of sexual orientation in public schools

Monday, April 23, 2012 | 7:57 a.m. CDT; updated 9:26 a.m. CDT, Monday, April 23, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Republican leaders in the Missouri House are backing legislation that would limit the discussion of people's sexual orientation in public schools.

A one-sentence bill filed in the House would prohibit teaching, extracurricular activities or materials that discuss sexual orientation — unless they relate to the scientific facts about human reproduction.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. Steve Cookson, R-Fairdealing. It's co-sponsored by House Speaker Steven Tilley, Majority Leader Tim Jones and more than a dozen other lawmakers.

The bill was assigned this past week to the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, but time is running short for it to pass before the session ends in mid-May.


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Greg Allen April 23, 2012 | 9:22 a.m.

If laws are designed to prevent harm, what harm is being addressed here? If someone is uncomfortable with ideas of homosexuality, will a law make it any different?

If people would master sexuality rather than deny it, things would be a lot different.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble April 23, 2012 | 10:19 a.m.

The party that champions freedom, liberty, and small government strikes again. And our state's reputation sinks a notch lower.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 23, 2012 | 10:57 a.m.

Careful what you wish for libs. Would you be so quick to defend discussing sexual orientation in school if the grade school teacher was discussing the "evils" of homosexuality?

IMHO, we are better off leaving these discussions out of the public school classroom...

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2012 | 12:14 p.m.

As a former one term member of our School Board stated when he left: Our children, in public schools, are now free to discuss the joy of anal sex, but may not discuss the Holy Bible.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble April 23, 2012 | 1:22 p.m.

@Mike, your example would be discrimination. If you feel that learning about and understanding those different from you without a preset indoctrinated judgment is a form of discrimination, then that presents a host of logistical issues from a societal standpoint. Not to mention that it's also anti-intellectual, and probably inhumane too.

@Frank, that's good propagandic rhetoric, but false. To those used to indoctrination, the neutral practice of "learning about" something can seem like indoctrination. In a diverse society, is it the job of a public school to supply one ethical narrative and moral judgment to every bit of information that's shared with students, without exception? Is your preference to make all schools teach Christian beliefs?

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 23, 2012 | 2:21 p.m.

My post was not meant to be taken literally. Think bigger picture. There are things are kids should learn at school and their are things are kids should learn at home. "Everyone Poops", o.k. "The Joy of Sex", I think not...

(Report Comment)
Greg Allen April 23, 2012 | 2:30 p.m.

What's being discussed is the orientation, not sexual techniques. Nor are they addressing sexual predators or addicts. Not the same thing. And there are plenty of heteros practicing some pretty bizarre things.........

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2012 | 2:35 p.m.

Kevin Gamble - The Board member's statement was not propaganda and neither was it false. It was at the end of the term in which our Board had decided to add by a one vote margin, sexual orientation, to the list of the "Nondiscriminatory Policy of the School District."

Is it your opinion that the subject he identified would not be allowed and not covered by the Policy? Our schools were "allowed" to teach "Christian beliefs" before the advent of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Mikes example became discrimination only after actions by these and the ACLU,primarily after 1960, a date which most liberals seem to believe is when the world began.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble April 23, 2012 | 2:51 p.m.

@Mike, I assume you're still not meaning to be taken literally - unless you can cite an example of something akin to "The Joy of Sex" being taught in our local schools. I'd be curious to hear what your literal position is. These hypotheticals are colorful - talk radio depends on such things for survival - but what is your real position?

@Frank - are you saying that sexual orientation should be acceptable grounds for discrimination in public and tax-exempt insitutions? You seem to be opposed to both the nondiscrimination policy and decades-old court rulings on discrimination. What, specifically, do you want to happen that isn't currently allowed? I would be interested to see you state it plainly.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 23, 2012 | 2:54 p.m.

Frank, believe it or not, it is not against any policy or law to discuss religious beliefs in public school. They simply cannot be taught as religion in the classroom. Religion is a personal choice and should be taught in church and Sunday school, not with public funds.


(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 23, 2012 | 3:55 p.m.

Kevin, yes, I am dancing around on purpose having a little fun with imagery rather than boring, straight, words. My position is that biology should be discussed at school and sex should be discussed at home.

Back to big picture fun...

What would be your idea of a good curriculum for sexual orientation to be discussed? At what age would you like to start these discussions?

Try getting agreement on these questions from the 5 or 6 people commenting here and once you have, we can proceed with the monumental task of getting more than 10 people to agree on this.

Music and art classes getting pushed out to make room for, sexual orientation discussions???

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2012 | 5:31 p.m.

K. Gamble - I'm saying that discussion of sexual orientation or the solicitation that may come with it are better subjects for home and bedroom than public schools and an act to stop the improper conversation noted above in public school should not be hampered by threat of harassment charges from the accused as it certainly could and probably would be, with the subject included on the Nondiscriminatory Policy.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble April 23, 2012 | 5:57 p.m.

@Mike, I agree with your dismay over the decline of music and art classes. Apart from the cultural benefits, there's a good body of study that indicates such types of pursuits improve learning in all subject areas - general brain and thinking improvement. As much as technical knowledge is needed these days, I'd hate to see anything promoted at the expense of art and music.

@Frank - I understand what you're saying. But I'd rather not have the removal of freedom and threat of discrimination codified in law to prevent something hypothetical. It's similar to how I feel about the voter ID laws which seem to get proposed shortly before every major election.

@Mark - well said.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2012 | 5:59 p.m.

Mark - This is the first study I came to, listing incidents since it became necessary to "follow the law" in regard to religion in class rooms.

Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said that the court should reject the appeal. He said:

"Parents do not have a constitutional right to preach to impressionable children in a public school. Schools can and should take steps to ensure that children of all faiths and none are welcome. If parents wish to read the Bible to their own children, they are free to do so at home." Lynn has been at this since law school and has worked with AUSC and ACLU the entire time.

Our kids must somehow be taught that to kill,lie,cheat and steal is wrong, whether with religion or whatever. They clearly, now, are not!

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2012 | 6:13 p.m.

Kevin - "But I'd rather not have the removal of freedom and threat of discrimination codified in law to prevent something hypothetical."

Imo, this is the exact effect of addition of sexual orientation to the list.

(Report Comment)

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