Group says public schools should be welcoming and inclusive to all students
The Southern Christian Coalition held a virtual press conference today and indicated opposition to legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly that the group says targets students based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Rev. Brandon Baxter, Pastor of Spiritual Formation at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville shared that he graduated from Williamson County Public Schools and his two daughters currently attend there as well.
“I pray each and every day that the schools that they attend are safe and affirming places for them to learn and grow. Whether we are Black, white, or brown, native or newcomer, transgender, or cisgender, we want our kids to have the freedom to be themselves and pursue their dreams. And unfortunately, right now, this Supermajority Legislature is trying to hold on to power by putting us in boxes based on what we look like, where we're from, or what our genders or gender identities are. They fuel divisions between parents by pushing laws to erase our history and our identities, from Selma to Stonewall. Instead of coming together to fully fund high quality education, they pass laws to exclude transgender kids from healthcare, from school and from sports.
“We already know that LGBTQ plus students face a high level of harm, discrimination and bullying from their fellow students. And now our legislators are also a part of this, which is contrary to the call of Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves."
Rev. Laura Becker, Pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, noted that her children have been in the Hamilton Public School system since 2008. She suggested that the legislature should focus on welcoming and inclusive policy that gets results for all kids.
“We are here today as pastors in the state of Tennessee, calling on our legislature to adequately fund our public schools, and invest and care for the children of Tennessee, knowing that they are each made in the image of God. All Tennessee students deserve the right to high quality and fully funded education that prepares them to achieve their full potential and successfully contribute to our communities and to our state."