Nashville teachers are calling on local school leaders to provide better protections for LGBT staff and students.
A bill requiring transgender student athletes to participate in sports according to their gender at birth was signed into law by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee last month. Other measures will restrict the use of LGBT curriculum and allow parents to opt out of any instructions. The opt out was approved by the state House and Senate earlier this month.
The Metro Nashville Education Association, which represents local teachers, has since organized a petition to combat the measures.
“I work really hard to make sure that all of my curriculum is very inclusive,” says Shereen Cook, a high school English teacher at W.A. Bass Learning Center in West Nashville. “I want kids to see themselves in what we’re reading.”
The bills, she says, will make it even harder to make her LGBT students feel welcomed. She also expressed concern over bullying.
“If we’re actively banning things that embrace their identify, they’re just going to feel that much more pushed away from school and less likely to engage,” says Cook. “And less likely to be successful.”
The new resolution, if the adopted by the Nashville school board, will call for increased support for LGBT staff and students inside and outside of the classroom. It’ll also allow them to use their preferred names and gender pronouns regardless of what’s on their official records.