HALL MONITOR: “YES” to give Tennessee parents the ability to review and opt their children into certain school programs and activities (SB 1443 and HB 727)

PDE Action supports Tennessee SB 1443 and HB 727.

Name: Tennessee Senate Bill 1443 and Tennessee House Bill 727, to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, relative to consent in educational events.

Summary: Outlines parental rights to review and opt their children into certain school programming and activities. See Tennessee Senate Bill 1117 and House Bill 1411.

Enacted: July 1, 2023

Sponsors and Cosponsors: 

Senate Bill 1443: Senator Kerry Roberts

House Bill 727: Representative Monty Fritts

Breakdown: Senate Bill 1443 and House Bill 727 ensure 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. Unlike Senate Bill 1117 and House Bill 1411, the bills did not include language that would have required parents to provide consent before their child joins a school club. The Tennessee Legislature passed the bill in April, and Governor Bill Lee signed it into law on May 5, 2023. 

Why did PDE Action support this bill? 

Bad actors have used surveys and sex education to push controversial narratives on sex and gender on students.  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. 

PDE Action is encouraged by the passage of this legislation. Parents, not schools, should have the final say in directing the care and upbringing of their children.