Archives for category: Tennessee

Mercedes Schneider employs her highly honed investigative skills to examine the background of Tennessee State Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn, who announced her resignation, as well as the “credentials” of her replacement Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds.

Schwinn started in Teach for America, then worked her way up to become chief deputy commissioner of academics for the Texas Education Agency. Such meteoric advances seem to happen only with TFA experience, especially in red states. Schwinn caused a bit of controversy after she handed out a $4.4 million no-bid contract to a newly-formed vendor who also had a TFA background. Strangely the whistle-blower was fired, while Schwinn rose yet again to be state commissioner of education in Tennessee.

In 2021, a Republican legislator introduced legislation calling for her resignation, due to the astronomical turnover rate in her department. But the proposal was withdrawn.

Then Schwinn audaciously awarded a multimillion dollar contract to TNTP (founded by Michelle Rhee) without disclosing that her husband worked for TNTP.

Schwinn’s successor, Reynolds, has no classroom experience. None. She rose through Ed deform organizations, largely connected to George W. Bush and Jeb Bush.

Schneider concludes:

Ed-reform makes for a tight and influential club.

For now, Schwinn is out, but with Reynolds replacing her, market-based ed reform will almost certainly not be taking a back seat in the Volunteer State.

Scandal might. But not corporate-styled ed reform.

If the people of Tennessee want a different approach to education, they will have to elect a new governor.

Parents in Chattanooga, Tennessee, complained to the district school board about its cancellation of a Mothers Day event that was intended to be inclusive. The school board reacted to a complaint by a member of the censorious rightwing Moms for Liberty.

Alternet reported:

Parents in Chattanooga, Tennessee boldly confronted the Hamilton County School Board and its Superintendent Justin Robertson “for caving to Moms (Against) Liberty-led bullying and canceling a librarian’s Mother’s Day lesson inclusive to kids without moms,” The Tennessee Holler tweeted on Sunday.

Moms for Liberty (which the paper dinged as “against”) is a right-wing organization that campaigns against social progress and civil rights. Media Matters for America pointed out in November 2021 that the non-profit has deep connections to the Republican Party and “has county-specific chapters across the country that target local school board meetings, school board members, administrators, and teachers.” Moms for Liberty also promoted “stripping districts of protective COVID-19 measures” and seeks to “modify classroom curriculum to exclude the teaching of ‘critical race theory’ (CRT) and sex education, all in the name of ‘parental rights.'”

Last Tuesday, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Alpine Crest Elementary School librarian Caroline Mickey posted a letter on Moms for Liberty’s website stating that “With Mother’s Day approaching, I’d like to highlight this special role, but I am sensitive to the fact that not all students live with a mother. As such, I am planning a lesson that celebrates those who fill the motherly roles in our lives.”

Then, on Wednesday, ABC News Channel 9 explained that Mickey’s event was “designed to include students who didn’t have what is considered a ‘traditional’ mother. But the group Hamilton County Moms for Liberty said the books promoted what they call the ‘homosexual agenda.'”

The Tennessee legislature has passed a law controlling the freedom of teachers and college professors to discuss racism. Quite literally, teachers are required to deliver content without expressing a point of view, for instance, acknowledging that slavery was wrong. The author of the bill says he is promoting freedom of expression by restricting freedom of expression.


“Divisive concept” rules are a set of laws passed last year that include many concepts usually taught in courses like sociology, psychology and political sciences.

The bill passed the House of Representatives on April 13, after passing Senate on April 5.

In 2022, lawmakers passed rules that allow state leaders to withhold funding for schools that teach about social, cultural and legal issues related to race and racism. Most of those concepts focus on how the impact of racism affects people today.

The law also specified that schools can teach about ethnic groups’ histories as described in textbooks and instructional materials. Educators can also only teach about controversial aspects of history, such as racial oppression or slavery, as long those discussions are impartial.

The bill, HB 1376, was introduced by Representative John Ragan (R – Oak Ridge). He previously said that the new bill was meant to strengthen the law passed in 2022 by “promoting freedom of expression,” and keep “colleges about advancing knowledge, not about advancing political or social agendas.”

Originally, the bill required institutions to publish a syllabus for each course offered in the semester on its website, meant to assess whether a “divisive concept” may be included in the curriculum. That requirement was removed in an amendment to the bill.

The bill restricts universities from using state funds for meetings or activities of an organization that “endorses or promotes a divisive concept.” It also requires employees who support diversity initiatives to “increase intellectual diversity” and support students through mentoring, career readiness and workforce development initiatives.

Employees would be exempt from the requirement if the new duties conflict with other laws, such as Title IX officers.

It also allows students and employees who believe that the school violated last year’s law a chance to file a report with the school. The school would then need to annually report violations to the comptroller of the treasury, redacting them as needed to stay in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The bill would also specifically require universities to allow any guest speaker on campus regardless of “non-violent political ideology” or “non-violent political party affiliation.”

The concepts that were banned from lessons in 2022’s law are listed below.

  • That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex
  • That a person, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist or oppressive — whether consciously or subconsciously
  • That a person should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of their race or sex
  • That a person’s moral character is determined by their race or sex
  • That a person, by virtue of their race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex
  • That a person should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or another form of psychological distress because of their race or sex
  • That a meritocracy is inherently racist, sexist or designed by a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race or sex
  • That Tennessee or the U.S. is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist
  • Promoting or advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. government
  • Promoting division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class or class of people
  • Ascribing character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges or beliefs to a race or sex, or to a person because of their race or sex
  • That the rule of law does not exist but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups
  • That “all Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
  • That governments should deny to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the law

It also bans lessons that include “race or sex scapegoating” or “race or sex stereotyping,” as those terms are defined in law. In October 2022, a group of UT faculty called the law “chilling,” and questioned the law’s intent.

Rep. Justin Jones (D – Nashville) spoke about the bill when he returned to the House of Representatives after he was expelled and reinstated. He asked a series of questions, such as whether “college students are mature enough to talk about race and systemic racism, some of the concepts you want to prohibit being discussed at the college level?”

“I believe in God. All else is settled by facts and data,” Ragan said.

Jones again asked him to answer the question, but Ragan said he responded to the question.

“So, we’re playing ‘not-answer.’ Okay,” Jones said.

He also asked why the bill was introduced and said it seemed based on “white fragility and fears of the truth of history.”

“This bill was brought to me by a dean of college education, in addition to another university contributed to this bill. That was my motivation, too,” Ragan said.

He also said he did not want to name the person who brought the bill to him.

“How will we be honest about our history if you’re prohibiting any concepts about America’s racist history?” Jones said. “This sounds like fascism. This sounds like authoritarianism. This does not sound like democracy or freedom … This member has consistently invoked God to justify this unjust, immoral and extreme, racist law.”

Speaker Cameron Sexton (R – Crossville) stopped Jones from speaking. Rep. Justin Pearson (D – Memphis) also spoke after being reinstated to the House.

“This is a deeply concerning bill because it is continuing a pattern of practice that is harmful to all people,” he said. “When you try to control what a person thinks, then you are assuming the role of God rather than allowing freedom of thought.”

He said that the list of “divisive concepts” bars discussions on biases, white privilege and racism’s role in slavery.

The bill passed by a vote of 68-26 in the House.

During a meeting on March 13, Ragan said he received complaints from universities in the state about an “overemphasis” of the original law at the expense of “intellectual diversity,” which led to him proposing the new bill.

Representative Harold Love, Jr. (D – Nashville) previously asked if a conference focusing on Black history could still be held and promoted by a university should the bill pass. Ragan said it would be allowed as long as they “are not required to promote or endorse.”

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Fred Klonsky is a retired teacher who blogs regularly about Chicago, Illinois, the nation, politics, and culture. In this post, he draws an interesting comparison between the recent expulsion of two Black legislators in Tennessee and events concurrent with the end of the Reconstruction era and the reign of Jim Crow. There is this difference: The two ousted members are very likely to be restored to their seats in the legislature by their local elected officials. The Tennessee Three are now national figures revealing the fascist hand in the iron glove of the Republican Party when it has the majority.

Robert Smalls, Congressman during Reconstruction.

The expulsion of Rep. Justin Jones and Rep. Justin Pearson from the Tennessee legislature has a direct historical link to the overthrow of real democracy and Reconstruction following the Civil War.

On May 13, 1862 an enslaved man named Robert Smalls, who labored on a Confederate steamer in South Carolina’s Charleston harbor, set into motion a daring plan.

As his great-great-grandson Michael Boulware Moore explained, “He saw that the Confederate crew had left, and he knew that oftentimes they left for the evening, not to come back until the next day.”

For Smalls and six other enslaved people and their families, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. “They knew that if they got caught, that they would be, not just killed, but probably tortured in a particularly egregious and public manner,” said Moore.

Disguising himself in the straw hat and long overcoat of the ship’s white captain, Smalls piloted the ship past Fort Sumter towards the Union blockade, and freedom.

After serving on a Union Naval vessel during the Civil War, Smalls returned home to Beaufort, S.C., and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives – one of more than a dozen African Americans to serve in Congress during the period known as Reconstruction, when the formerly-rebel states were reabsorbed into the Union, and four million newly-freed African Americans were made citizens.

South Carolina, and throughout the former Confederacy, the era of Reconstruction saw the rise of Black political power and representation in both the U.S. Congress and Southern state legislatures.

During the 1870s, more than a dozen African American men, many of whom had been born into slavery, were elected to the U.S. Congress. 

It was a great democratic movement that ended all too quickly.

Former Southern insurrectionists, aided by the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, violently organized an anti-democratic counterrevolution.

Born in South Carolina, Aaron A. Bradley was a shoemaker in Augusta Georgia. Sometime around 1834 he ran away to the North, where he became a lawyer. 

In 1865 he returned to Georgia. He was the most outspoken member of the Black delegation to the constitutional convention. 

In 1868 he was elected state senator from the First District. Bradley rallied plantation workers around Savanah with his insistence that the formerly enslaved people be given land.

But Black political power and Reconstruction was short lived.

One quarter of the Black legislators in Georgia were killed, threatened, beaten, or jailed. In the December 1870 elections the Democrats won an overwhelming victory in overthrowing democracy and Reconstruction.

In 1906 W. H. Rogers from McIntosh County was the last Black legislator to be elected before Black voters were legally disenfranchised in 1908.

The actions by white Republican members of the Tennessee legislature to expel two elected Black members has all the stench of the overthrow of Reconstruction and the establishment of Jim Crow.

Two of three rebellious Democratic legislators were expelled from the Tennessee legislature. The two who were expelled are Black. The third, who survived, is a white woman. This is an unprecedented sanction for defying the majority and speaking without permission, on behalf of gun control. Expulsion in the past was reserved for criminal behavior or sex scandals, not dissidence. The two legislators were expelled for breaking House rules of decorum.

It was an outrageous, undemocratic decision.

The vote to expel the second legislator, Gloria Johnson, a special education teacher, failed by one vote. When asked why Rep. Jones was expelled but she was not, she responded, “It might have something to do with the color of our skin.”

The Republican Party in Tennessee gerrymandered legislative districts to give themselves a supermajority. Democrats are powerless. Governor Bill Lee is a hard right ideologue.

After the murder of three children and three staff members at the Coventry School in Nashville, parents and students surrounded the Statehouse demanding gun control, which will never happen in this state so long as the state is solidly owned by the GOP.

Instead of enacting gun control, the legislators passed a law to arm teachers and “harden” schools.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Voting has begun in Nashville, where the Republican-controlled Tennessee state House of Representatives have already agreed to oust one of the three Democratic lawmakers in what marks the first partisan expulsion in the state’s modern history.

State Rep. Justin Jones, the first lawmaker expelled when lawmakers voted to adopt HR65, called the resolution “a spectacle” and “a lynch mob assembled to not lynch me, but our democratic process.”

“We called for you all to ban assault weapons and you respond with an assault on democracy,” Jones said during his 20-minute opening statement.

Earlier in the Thursday session, the legislature passed HB322, a bill that requires schools to implement a number of safety plans and security systems, over the objections of the three members who face expulsion.

“This bill is not about school safety that will not make our students safer,” Jones said, adding the move to “make our schools militarized zones” is borne out of refusal “to address the real issue, which is easy access to military grade weapons, which is easy access to weapons of war on our streets.”

State Rep. Gloria Johnson, a former teacher, decried the possibility of “gun battles at our schoolhouse door,” and state Rep. Justin Pearson, the last of the trio, argued that “the root cause that each of us have to address is this gun violence epidemic do the due to the proliferation of guns.”

“We don’t need a solution that says if you don’t lock a door or get someone with a gun, we need a solution that says people shouldn’t be going to schools and to houses and to neighborhoods with weapons of war,” Pearson added.Protesters gathered both inside — in the gallery, where they were told to remain silent — and in large groups outside, in apparent support of the three Democratic lawmakers.

Jones, Johnson and Pearson are facing expulsion resolutions for allegedly violating the chamber’s rules of decorum by participating in a gun control protest at the state Capitol last week. The demonstration came in the wake of the deadly Covenant School shooting in Nashville on March 27, where a former student fatally shot three children and three adults, police have said.

Republican leaders said that by siding with the large crowd of peaceful parents and students the three legislators had encouraged an “insurrection,” and some (the House Speaker) said it was even worse than the January 6 events when thousands of people broke into the Capitol and sent members of Congress hiding for their lives.

The courageous “Tennessee Three” were subject to expulsion for defending the lives of the innocent while the Republicans cower before the NRA.

The Tennessean reported:

Moments after voting to expel Jones, the House took up a resolution to expel Rep. Gloria Johnson.

Johnson brought two attorneys, former state Reps. John Mark Windle and Mike Stewart, to represent her. Windle spoke first on her behalf, pointing out specific accusations in the resolution of actions that Johnson specifically did not commit.

“It is an absolute falsehood that has been perpetuated on this body,” Windle said. “This woman did not shout – and that’s the first particular that they charged.” 

Windle noted that Johnson did not bang on the House podium or become disorderly.

“Do you know who Gloria Johnson is? Does anybody know her? Is she a boogie man?” Windle asked. “Gloria Johnson is a school teacher. A special education teacher.”

“Today is Maundy Thursday, the day of betrayal,” he said. “Isn’t it fitting these allegations are made during Holy Week?” 

During his remarks, Stewart argued that expulsion of a member for decorum violations is unprecedented in the House body.

“I haven’t heard anybody on this floor cite a single example of somebody being expelled from a legislative body based on these sort of flimsy charges,” Stewart said. “This is not just unprecedented in the state of Tennessee, and has no precedent in the United States of America.”

Rep. Gloria was not expelled, although she acted in concert with the other two legislators, both of whom are Black men, the youngest in the legislature at 27.

Then the legislature took up the case of the 3rd Democrat—Rep. Justin Pearson—who protested inaction on gun control. Like Rep. Jones, Rep. Pearson was expelled.

The two representatives can run for their seats again, but their districts will currently have no representation.

The GOP is a party that opposes democracy. In state after state, it is going full fascist.

The statehouse in Nashville, Tennessee, was surrounded by parents and students demonstrating in favor of gun control and against the GOP-controlled legislature’s protection of guns. The protest follows the murder of three children and three staff members at the Coventry School in Nashville.

Three Democratic members of the legislature joined the protest, chanting with the protestors.

The GOP leadership threatened to expel the Democrats. The speaker of the House absurdly claimed that the three Democrats were encouraging an insurrection.

Parents and children held signs and shouted chants during a large protest at the Tennessee capitol last week following a deadly school shooting. And while no one was arrested or injured, Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton is comparing the demonstration to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

During the House Floor session on Thursday — days after the Covenant School shooting — Reps. Gloria Johnson, D-Knox, Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, and Justin Jones, D-Nashville, stood up and chanted with protestors in the gallery.

Pearson and other Democrats attempted to acknowledge the large group of protesters during session, but were told to stick to the subject of the bill by Speaker Cameron.

“We listened to them and helped to elevate the issue that they are demanding justice for,” said Pearson.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton said their actions were more than a breach of decorum, comparing it to the January 6th insurrection in remarks to outlets.

“Two of the members; Representative Jones and Representative Johnson, have been very vocal about Jan. 6 and Washington, D.C., about what that was,” said Sexton. “What they did today was equivalent, at least equivalent, maybe worse depending on how you look at it, to doing an insurrection in the State Capitol.”

Sexton warned that there will likely be consequences for the trio.

“It could be removal of committees; it could be censorship; it could be expulsion from the General Assembly. Anywhere in between,” said Sexton.

Leaders in the Democratic caucus are defending their colleagues. Nashville Democrat John Ray Clemmons says he believes Speaker Sexton is exaggerating.

“You show me the broken windows, you show me anyone who went into the speaker’s office and put their chair up on his desk and trashed his office, you show me where a noose was hanging anywhere on the legislative plaza,” said Clemmons, citing damage committed during the Capitol riot, which resulted in five deaths before and after the event.

The three rebellious Democrats were stripped of their committee assignments. Their member badges were deactivated. Their telephones were disconnected.

In a press conference Monday, Jones says Sexton is more focused on politics than addressing last week’s mass shooting.

“We are members, who are standing in the well, telling our speakers and our colleagues that kids should not be murdered in school,” Jones said, “and rather than address that issue, the speaker has spent more time on Twitter this weekend talking about a fake insurrection than he did about the deaths of six people including 9-year-old children.”

It is not yet clear if the lawmakers will face expulsion. Sexton has not commented on whether they will face further discipline.

A tweet:

Three Tennessee Democrats have been stripped of their committee and subcommittee assignments by the Republican dominated legislature for speaking out against gun violence in the wake of the Nashville shooting that killed three children.

Democracy is dead in Tennessee.


Rep. Gloria Johnson, one of the three Democrats, tweeted:

ProPublica writes here about the dilemma of doctors in Tennessee: The patient would die unles she had an abortion. There was no time to spare. But the state just passed a law to punish doctors who performed abortions. Should they let her die?

One day late last summer, Dr. Barry Grimm called a fellow obstetrician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to consult about a patient who was 10 weeks pregnant. Her embryo had become implanted in scar tissue from a recent cesarean section, and she was in serious danger. At any moment, the pregnancy could rupture, blowing open her uterus.

Dr. Mack Goldberg, who was trained in abortion care for life-threatening pregnancy complications, pulled up the patient’s charts. He did not like the look of them. The muscle separating her pregnancy from her bladder was as thin as tissue paper; her placenta threatened to eventually invade her organs like a tumor. Even with the best medical care in the world, some patients bleed out in less than 10 minutes on the operating table. Goldberg had seen it happen.

Mayron Michelle Hollis stood to lose her bladder, her uterus and her life. She was desperate to end the pregnancy. On the phone, the two doctors agreed this was the best path forward, guided by recommendations from the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, an association of 5,500 experts on high-risk pregnancy. The longer they waited, the more complicated the procedure would be.

But it was Aug. 24, and performing an abortion was hours away from becoming a felony in Tennessee. There were no explicit exceptions. Prosecutors could choose to charge any doctor who terminated any pregnancy with a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If charged, the doctor would have the burden of proving in front of a judge or jury that the procedure was necessary to save the patient’s life, similar to claiming self-defense in a homicide case.

The doctors didn’t know where to turn to for guidance. There was no institutional process to help them make a final call. Hospitals have malpractice lawyers but do not typically employ criminal lawyers. Even local criminal lawyers weren’t sure what to say — they had no precedent to draw on, and the attorney general and the governor weren’t issuing any clarifications. Under the law, it was possible a prosecutor could argue Hollis’ case wasn’t an immediate emergency, just a potential risk in the future.

Goldberg was only a month into his first job as a full-fledged staff doctor, launching his career in one of the most hostile states for reproductive health care in America, yet he was confident he could stand in a courtroom and attest that Hollis’ condition was life-threatening. But to perform an abortion safely, he would need a team of other providers to agree to take on the same legal risks. Hollis wanted to keep her uterus so she could one day get pregnant again. That made the operation more complicated, because a pregnant uterus draws extra blood to it, increasing the risk of hemorrhage.

Goldberg spent the next two days trying to rally support from his colleagues for a procedure that would previously have been routine.

Vanderbilt declined to comment for this article, but Hollis’ doctors spoke to ProPublica in their personal capacity, with her permission, risking backlash in order to give the public a rare view into the dangers created when lawmakers interfere with high-stakes medical care.

First, Goldberg and a colleague tried the interventional radiology department. To lower Hollis’ chance of bleeding, Goldberg wanted doctors to insert a special gel into the artery that supplied blood to her uterus to reduce its flow. But that department’s leadership didn’t feel comfortable participating.

I read this story with a sense of incredulity and impotence. Could this be happening in Tennessee in 2023?

A couple were driving through rural Tennessee on their way to a funeral in Chicago. They had with them in the car their children, one of who was breastfeeding. A police car pulled them over for a minor traffic violation. They had tinted windows and were driving in the left lane on the highway.

Instead of giving them a warning or a ticket, the couple was detained. Both were given drug tests, then hair follicle tests. The authorities decided they were unfit parents. Their children were taken away, including the breast-feeding baby.

A Black family from Georgia is fighting for the return of their five young children from the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services after a traffic stop in Manchester, Tenn. last month.

Bianca Clayborne and Deonte Williams were on Interstate 24 heading to a family funeral in Chicago — kids asleep in the back of the car — when a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer pulled them over for “dark tint and traveling in the left lane while not actively passing,” according to Feb. 17 citations issued to the couple.

The trooper searched the family’s Dodge Durango then arrested Williams for possession of five grams of marijuana, a misdemeanor in Tennessee. Clayborne was cited but not arrested.

Clayborne said she was told she was free to leave with the children, but could follow a THP car to find her way to the Coffee County Justice Center in order to bond Williams out.

Six hours after the traffic stop, as Clayborne sat on a bench in the criminal justice center waiting for Williams’ release, the five children — a breast-feeding baby now four months old along with 2-, 3-, 5- and 7-year-olds — were forcibly removed from her side while an officer restrained her from reaching for her crying baby, she said….

Inside, “the process seemed slow,” Clayborne said. She waited on benches with her children until about 3 p.m. — nearly six hours after the 9:40 a.m. stop. It was then, according to court records, the children were taken from her.

Uniformed police officers approached Clayborne and her children and “circled me,” she said.

“Then my baby started crying so I reached for my son, and as I’m reaching, a man held me and told me, ‘don’t touch him. He’s getting taken away from you,’” Clayborne said.

One woman was walking her five year old son out the door; another picked her daughter and walked away. Someone else took the stroller with her baby inside.

“I just sat there crying, crying, crying,” she said, her voice shaking as she recounted the events via a Zoom meeting from Georgia.

Clayborne said no one asked her for any information – her phone number, the children’s health or nutritional needs and no one immediately provided her contact information so she could learn where they were or a court order showing why they were taken.

“My kids – they have asthma and you’re not asking about nothing,” she said. “I breastfeed.They didn’t give me anything. They just ran off with my kids.”

When the hearing concluded, the court decided to retain custody of the five children and ordered the parents to take additional drug tests, including hair follicle tests, which are not reliable but might show drug use months ago.

Your Critical Race Theory quiz: Please read the articles in full and respond to these questions:

If the couple were white, do you think the police would have acted differently? How? Why? Why not?

If the couple were white, would they have been subject to search to arrest and detainment? Why or why not?

If the couple were white, would they have lost custody of their children? Why and why not.

NOTICE: this post should not be read or shared in Florida, as it is illegal to discuss these questions.

Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee recently signed the most restrictive bill in the nation to ban drag shows, where men dress as women or women dress as men. Anyone who dares to do it will be charged with a felony and thrown in the clink. No drag shows in Tennessee!

Governor Bill Lee (R-TN) signed one of the country’s most restrictive anti-drag bans into law on Thursday, despite criticism and backlash from LGBTQ advocates denouncing the legislation as harmful and discriminatory.

The Republican-controlled legislature ran roughshod over the democratic process, pushing through an amendment to the previously passed anti-transgender bill, Senate Bill 3 ,which now includes drag performances under a category reserved for adult businesses like strip clubs.

This inclusion will make appearing in public, or “anywhere where a minor could view it,” dressed in drag a criminal offense.

While first offenses will be charged as misdemeanors, subsequent violations will incur felony charges that could land a performer in prison for up to six years.

I sure hope the hit Broadway show “Some Like It Hot” doesn’t plan to visit Nashville. The cast will be arrested.

The Hawkins County GOP must be pretty upset too. Some years back, the county Republicans put on a drag show, and it was their most successful fund-raiser ever. You gotta open the link and see the GOP leaders in drag!

And open this link to see Rudy Guiliani in drag, playing coy with Donald Trump.

Crooks & Liars found this story from Tennessee in Law & Crime about the principal of a Christian school who has been arrested twice for allegations of sex with minors.

This is of interest because Governor Bill Lee has made it a priority to bring charter schools and vouchers to his state, which would reduce public oversight of school employees. In the case of vouchers,there are typically no state regulations for certification or background checks.

Law&Crime reports:

A 47-year-old principal at a Christian private school in Tennessee was arrested for the second time in less than a year over allegations that he engaged in illegal sexual activity with multiple minors. Jason Kennedy was taken into custody last week and charged with four counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child, one count of aggravated sexual battery, and one count of solicitation of a minor to observe sexual conduct, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Kennedy was the principal and a teacher at Liberty Christian School when he was initially arrested in August and charged with two counts of sexual assault by an authority figure and one count of solicitation of a minor.

Brittney Branham, a 28-year-old secretary and homeschool coordinator at Liberty, was also arrested in August and charged with one count of solicitation of a minor in connection with the same series of incidents that allegedly took place inside Kennedy’s home, where Branham was also a resident, according to a report from Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR-TV.

It really is better for all if teachers and principals are educated, certified, and subject to background checks.

Numerous states controlled by Republicans want to “let the money follow the child” to any place, without regulation or oversight or accountability. This is not in the best interest of children, society, or education.