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Tennessee House passes bill banning most pride flag displays in public classrooms

"What we’re doing is making sure parents are the ones who are allowed to instill in their children the values they want to instill," the bill's sponsor said.

Published: February 27, 2024 12:08pm

The Tennessee House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban most LGBT+ pride flag displays in public classrooms.

The State Senate may vote on the proposal as soon as this week after the State House passed the legislation 70-24 on Monday, per The Associated Press

The bill prohibits public schools in the state from displaying any flag other than the U.S. flag, the Tennessee flag, historically protected flags, the POW/MIA flag, and flags representing Native American tribes, governments, schools or branches of the armed forces. 

Pride flags and other flags not listed as exemptions in the bill may be "displayed temporarily as part of a bona fide course curriculum," the legislation states. Additionally, an organization authorized to use the public school building may display their flag at the time and place of their meeting. 

The bill allows parents and guardians of students to enforce the ban by filing a civil lawsuit against schools that violate the proposed law. 

Republican State Rep. Gino Bulso, the bill's sponsor, said he had received complaints from parents about "political flags" being displayed, per The Associated Press

"What we’re doing is making sure parents are the ones who are allowed to instill in their children the values they want to instill," he said. 

"The whole idea is that a school is a place where a child goes to learn, not a place where a child goes to be indoctrinated," Bulso also told local outlet WKRN last month. 

State Rep. Jason Powell, a Democrat from Nashville, expressed opposition to the bill. 

"I am proud when I walk into the public schools in my city, to see the LGBTQ flag in the classrooms, proudly put up by teachers who understand the suffering that many of their students go through," Powell said. "We should be welcoming and celebrating our students, not hating on them."

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