HALL MONITOR: “YES” to give Tennessee parents the ability review and opt their children into surveys and sex education programming (SB 1117 and HB 1411)

PDE Action supports Tennessee SB 1117 and 1411.

Name: Tennessee Senate Bill 1117 and Tennessee House Bill 1411, to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, relative to parental consent. 

Summary: Outlines parental rights to review and opt their children into certain school programming and activities. See Tennessee Senate Bill 1443 and House Bill 727.

Sponsors and Cosponsors: 

Senate Bill 1117: Senators Janice Bowling and J. Adam Lowe 

House Bill 1411: Representative Monty Fritts

Breakdown: Senate Bill 1117 and House Bill 1411 would have ensured that parents have the opportunity to review and provide consent before their child takes a survey or participates in family life instruction—Tennessee’s version of sex education. Futher, the bill would have required parents to consent before their child joins a school club. While neither Senate Bill 1117 nor House Bill 1411 were taken up for a vote, the Tennessee legislature passed Senate Bill 1443, which included very similar language to Senate Bill 117. 

Why did PDE Action support this bill? 

Controversial race and gender ideology can be pushed on students through surveys, sex education, and even extracurricular activities like school clubs. Our partner organization, Parents Defending Education, tracks incidents from across the country that speak to the importance of parental inclusion: 

  • Surveys: Cedar Rapids Community School District in Iowa administered a back-to-school survey that asked students about their preferred names and pronouns, and whether those can be used when talking to parents. 
  • Sex education: Students learned about puberty blockers and the “gender wheel” during a sex education lesson at Lincoln Elementary School in Washington. 
  • Clubs: A Colorado mom claimed that her daughter’s middle school invited the child to a “secret” Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) club. There, the child was allegedly told that parents are not always safe and that issues discussed during club meetings can be kept from parents. 

Parents, not the government, have the right to direct the care and upbringing of their children. Senate Bill 1117 and House Bill 1411 would have increased transparency and parental inclusion in Tennessee schools.