"Don't say gay" bill a hot issue in Mo. - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

"Don't say gay" bill a hot issue in Mo.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Should Missouri public school teachers and students be allowed to discuss homosexual issues in schools? Some Missouri law makers say "no."

House Bill 2051, otherwise known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill would prohibit the discussion of sexual orientation in public school instruction, material, or extra-curricular activity.

The bill's sponsor is Rep. Steve Cookson from Fairdealing. He says the bill is meant to "protect the moral values that are most important to Missouri families."  He says the bill will help schools focus on core education issues such as math, science, and reading and not on topics better left for discussion in the home at the discretion of parents.

"My intent on filing the bill is just because I believe there are certain things in school, that are appropriate to be taught as part of the curriculum, and I think there's other things that are inappropriate, and need to be taught at home," Cookson told Heartland News on Wednesday.

He  said he wants schools to keep to core education issues.

The only exception is health classes. It's a topic that has parties on both sides sounding off.

"I thought it was the most ridiculous idea I'd ever heard," said James Francis.

Francis is the president of the Southeast Missouri State University Gay-Straight Alliance.  He's well aware of the bill.

"I would just really like everyone to know this bill is going to be hurting a lot of individuals in the area," said Francis.

It's a one sentence bill that Francis feels is a step in the wrong direction in homosexuals fight for equal rights.

"I think it's the exact opposite because we want to see more talks and this would stop all that it would be going backwards," said Francis.

Cookson, the bill's sponsor, says the bill does not target a particular sexual orientation, but instead says instruction or materials related to any sexual orientation should not take place in public schools.

Francis feels lack of education leads to discrimination.

"Whenever I finally did come out a lot of people asked me why and say it's a choice but if it's a choice why would I choose to be bullied and harassed on a daily basis," said Francis.

However, we found some people who agree with lawmakers, including some parents who say it's a talk they'd like to have with their kids.

"I think when it comes to issues like that deal with sexuality it should stay in the home," said Chris Barinque of Cape Girardeau. "I don't see it as being the school's responsibility to take on something like that."

Christians also feel strongly about the bill.

"According to the Bible it teaches homosexuality is abomination," said Denea Woods.

If passed, 2051 would only allow for discussion when it comes to scientific instruction concerning human reproduction.

"What are we banning next?" said Southeast student Jesse Deleon. "African American education? Latino education?"

The president of the Missouri Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics (MoAAP), Dr. Stuart C. Sweet, released a statement about the bill on Wednesday saying:

"The Missouri Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics (MoAAP) is committed to the health and well being of all the children of Missouri," said Sweet.  "We are distressed that HB 2051 has been introduced into the Missouri Legislature. This bill, which would prohibit any discussion of issues around sexual orientation in public schools, forbid teachers from addressing bullying based on sexual orientation, and likely ban gay-straight alliances, is clearly harmful to the best interests of the children of Missouri."

"All children and teenagers need to feel safe in their schools, and HB 2051 takes that assurance away from them. Rather, we would urge lawmakers to institute public policy that will help children feel safe in their schools and will ensure that their voice will always be heard."

Many people we spoke with feel homosexuals have the right to be upset.

"I think they would feel like they were being ostracized from the community," said Ashley Durr of Cape Girardeau. "Why shouldn't our kids be taught it's ok to be different."

Others feel government has gone too far.

"I say it's too prevalent not to teach it," said Holt Walker of Jackson. "I just wish the lawmakers would find a topic that's really important."

Cookson says the bill does not prohibit a student struggling with his or her sexual identity from talking to a school counselor.

The bill is not scheduled for a hearing in the near future. Session ends mid May. It's been assigned to the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee for further discussion.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Two families had memorable pitches at SEMO Redhawks game

    Two families had memorable pitches at SEMO Redhawks game

    Saturday, April 21 2018 10:42 PM EDT2018-04-22 02:42:34 GMT
    Liam Gregory, a heart recipient, hands the ball to the catcher in his ceremonial first pitch.Liam Gregory, a heart recipient, hands the ball to the catcher in his ceremonial first pitch.

    Two memorable first pitches happened at the SEMO Redhawks baseball game on Saturday, April 21.

    Two memorable first pitches happened at the SEMO Redhawks baseball game on Saturday, April 21.

  • First Alert: Heavier showers move in early Sunday

    First Alert: Heavier showers move in early Sunday

    Saturday, April 21 2018 10:01 PM EDT2018-04-22 02:01:08 GMT
    Most of the heavier showers will move in during the early morning hours (Source: KFVS)Most of the heavier showers will move in during the early morning hours (Source: KFVS)

    Lisa Michaels says isolated showers can occur before midnight in southeast Missouri, but it seems that most of the heavier showers will move in during the early morning hours.

    Lisa Michaels says isolated showers can occur before midnight in southeast Missouri, but it seems that most of the heavier showers will move in during the early morning hours.

  • 82-year-old injured after crash with semi on I-57 in Williamson Co., IL

    82-year-old injured after crash with semi on I-57 in Williamson Co., IL

    Saturday, April 21 2018 9:18 PM EDT2018-04-22 01:18:16 GMT
    An 82-year-old man was injured after his car was involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 57 in Williamson County, Illinois. (Source: Raycom Media)An 82-year-old man was injured after his car was involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 57 in Williamson County, Illinois. (Source: Raycom Media)
    An 82-year-old man was injured after his car was involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 57 in Williamson County, Illinois. (Source: Raycom Media)An 82-year-old man was injured after his car was involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 57 in Williamson County, Illinois. (Source: Raycom Media)

    An 82-year-old man was injured after his car was involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 57 in Williamson County, Illinois.

    An 82-year-old man was injured after his car was involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 57 in Williamson County, Illinois.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'Austin Powers' star Verne Troyer dies at age 49

    'Austin Powers' star Verne Troyer dies at age 49

    Saturday, April 21 2018 4:51 PM EDT2018-04-21 20:51:28 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:03 PM EDT2018-04-21 22:03:39 GMT

    Verne Troyer, an actor famous for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" trilogy, has passed away.

    Verne Troyer, an actor famous for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" trilogy, has passed away.

  • Delta passenger fined $500 for apple

    Delta passenger fined $500 for apple

    Saturday, April 21 2018 1:01 PM EDT2018-04-21 17:01:03 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:45 PM EDT2018-04-21 22:45:42 GMT
    adlock's healthy snack turned into a tough reality to stomach. (Source: KDVR/CNN)adlock's healthy snack turned into a tough reality to stomach. (Source: KDVR/CNN)

    Crystal Tadlock is not happy about the fine she said

    Crystal Tadlock is not happy about the fine she said

  • World's oldest person dies in Japan at age of 117

    World's oldest person dies in Japan at age of 117

    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:34 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:34:25 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 10:26 PM EDT2018-04-22 02:26:21 GMT
    Mitzi Shore, owner of the legendary Comedy Store in Los Angeles, has died at the age of 87. (Source: Raycom Media)Mitzi Shore, owner of the legendary Comedy Store in Los Angeles, has died at the age of 87. (Source: Raycom Media)

    The world's oldest person has died in southern Japan at the age of 117.

    The world's oldest person has died in southern Japan at the age of 117.

Powered by Frankly