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Laws Focus on Education

This information comes from the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Henley, Dr., R-Hohenwald. His district includes Giles and five other area counties.

Education was a primary focus of the 2022 legislative session, adding new laws that will improve our public school system in Tennessee.

"With the new school year upon us, I’ll summarize a few of these important laws, several of which I am proud to have sponsored." he said.

"I sponsored two bills aimed at ensuring fairness in both girls’ sports in K-12 public schools as well as NCAA women’s sports in public colleges in Tennessee."

The latter prohibits biological males from competing in women’s sports at the college level, and the former ensures school districts comply with a 2021 law that prohibits biological males from competing in girls’ sports in public K-12 institutions.

Both laws seek to maintain a level playing field.

"Allowing biological males, who have a strength, speed and power advantage, to compete against young woman is just not fair," he said.

Many young women have trained tirelessly for years in their respective sport, only to have their shot at victory taken from them because they competed against a biological male. There are numerous examples, including an NCAA swimming competition this year. These laws aim to correct that inequity.

Another important law addresses concerns about inappropriate materials in public school libraries.

"Co-sponsored by myself, the Age-Appropriateness Materials Act of 2022 ensures students learn with materials appropriate to their age and grade level," Hensley said.

To enhance transparency and oversight, the law requires public schools to post online a list of the materials in their libraries, and also creates a system for receiving and evaluating feedback from parents, students and faculty regarding school library materials.

Material deemed inappropriate through this process will be removed from the school library.

"I co-sponsored a new law that combats indoctrination in public colleges.

"Similar to a 2021 law applying to K-12 education, this legislation protects students and employees from being forced to believe or embrace divisive concepts," he said.

The new law stipulates that students or employees at public higher education institutions must not be penalized, discriminated against, or adversely treated due to the student’s or employee’s refusal to endorse divisive concepts.

The law includes 15 definitions of a divisive concept, encompassing pernicious ideas such as white privilege and Critical Race Theory.

"The classroom is no place for these divisive ideas, and students and faculty should not face repercussions for refusing to embrace them," he said.

"I also sponsored a bill that cracks down on abortion advocacy in schools," he said.

The law prohibits a school district seeking assistance in teaching family life from knowingly entering into an agreement with a person or entity that performs abortion or provides funding, advocacy or other support for abortions.

Tennessee is one of the strongest pro-life states in the country, and our tax dollars should not be used to support efforts that are antithetical to our values.

"Finally, I sponsored the Teacher Discipline Act to ensure classrooms remain productive spaces for learning," Hensley said.

The legislation establishes a process for school districts to enable a teacher to remove a student who causes repeated disruptions.

Once the disruptive student is disciplined, principals could use their discretion to send them back into the classroom or permanently remove the child.

The bill also allows teachers to appeal to a school’s director or local superintendent if they disagree with that decision.

The legislation facilitates a better path for local directors to work with school officials to address issues impacting a disruptive student’s ability to learn.

"I’m proud of my work on these bills and am confident they will improve our schools for both students as well as parents and faculty," Hensley said.

He may be reached at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville TN., 37243, or by calling 615-741-3100, calling toll free at 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100, or by faxing 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN., 38462. His home telephone number is 931-796-2018, his cell phone is 931-212-8823, and his E-Mail is sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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This information is provided by the Office of 28th District State Sen. and MD Joey Hensley R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles and five other counties. Passed by the General Assembly this year and in ef