Senator Expands Parental Involvement Bill

Knoxville Senator Stacey Campfield brought a new twist to his parental involvement bill Monday night – a requirement that a parent sign off on every thing a student does that’s not part of formal classwork.

Campfield’s bill originally called for school systems to send home a list of clubs and organizations on each campus, so that parents could veto some in advance. Opponents claimed Campfield was targeting clubs that address gay issues.

But when the bill hit the Senate floor, Campfield unveiled a more sweeping version – now a parent would have to send a separate permission slip for any and all extracurricular activities.

“Some parents may not want kids to be involved in clubs, for whatever reasons. They may say, Hey, Johnny or Billy is doing poor in school, I don’t want him doing chess club, or dance club or whoever knows what club. We may want him to be studying, instead. This is just to give those parents that approval power, similar to what we do for sports.”

Some Senators called Campfield’s new version overkill. They spun stories of their own children’s involvement with the school system – a not-so-subtle dig at Campfield, a bachelor with no children of his own.

Campfield ignored the digs and continued to lobby for more parental control, but fellow Republicans sent the bill, with its broad new amendment, back to the Senate Education Committee for more study.

The Senate Education Committee is expected to take up the new version on Wednesday.

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The bill is SB 426 Campfield/HB 432 Hill, parent sign-off on all extra curricular activities.

“It gives parents who may not want a kid to join a club for whatever reason, maybe the kid’s not doing well in school, whatever, it gives that parent the approval power for those clubs.”

The House version – the list of clubs for parental review – passed in the House on Monday, May 9, 75-19.

The staff bill summary shows the impact of Campfield’s proposed amendment – that a parent would have to sign off on every extra-curricular activity the child wishes to join.

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