State Representative Bud Hulsey Discusses His New K-12 Education Bill

Feb 1, 2023

Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed State Representative Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) to the newsmaker line to detail his new bill that would require parents to opt their children into surveys and curriculum.

Leahy: This morning on the newsmaker line, State Representative Bud Hulsey from Kingsport is here to join us to talk about his new K-12 education bill. Good morning, Representative Hulsey.

Hulsey: Good morning, Michael. Glad to be with you.

Leahy: Is this the first time you’ve been on our program, Representative Hulsey?

Hulsey: Yes, sir, I’ve been on your paper before, but this is the first time I’ve been on your program.

Leahy: We are delighted. You’re here in town for the Tennessee General Assembly in session.

Hulsey: Yes, sir.

Leahy: You’re a long way from Kingsport. That’s quite a drive, isn’t it?

Hulsey: (Chuckles) It takes me four hours and 15 minutes to get down here.

Leahy: You know exactly how long it takes, don’t you?

Swain: You must be speeding. I’ve done that ride, and took me five hours.

Leahy: He knows the shortcuts, Carol.

Hulsey: Yes, that’s it.

Leahy: That’s it. That’s the ticket. Let’s talk about this bill. Let me outline the bill which both Carol and I have looked at this and it sounds like a really good idea. Let me describe it and then let’s get your description. It’s for local education agencies, basically, it’s a county school district.

In Tennessee, there are 147 local education agencies, 95 counties, and about 50 other local education agencies, some state cities, et cetera. But your bill, HB 0727, would require a student or parent or legal guardian to provide written, informed, and voluntarily signed consent to the student’s local education agency.

Typically the county school system, before the student, may receive instruction through the local education agency’s family life curriculum, participate in the survey, analysis, or evaluation, or receive health services provided through a coordinated school health program.

This sounds like a good idea. Tell us about your motivation in putting this together and how you see this winding its way through the Tennessee House of Representatives this session.

Hulsey: Thank you, Michael. As most state representatives down here, you have some ideas of your own and some things that you’re passionate about your own bills on, then a lot of bills you run because groups of people come to you and say, this is a problem and here’s our solution to it. Will you help us fix it?

And that’s how this bill actually came about from a group called Free Tennessee. And what it does is right now, if you have a student at school, most schools in this state, and there’s a curriculum that a lot of times is really controversial depending on whose worldview is teaching it.

But generally, they surround health issues and those kinds of things. And right now, if you don’t want your kid going to those classes, you have to opt out of it and make sure you fill out the forms to opt your kid out of it.

What this bill does is it turns it around and says that if you want your kid to participate in those programs, you have to opt into it. Otherwise, your kid doesn’t take it. And the reason that that’s kind of important is a lot of these issues, I’ve got in front of me some of the forms from Metro Nashville Public Schools, and there are several of them.

Just like one is called the School Climate Survey, where they survey your kid, and they talk to your kid, and they deal with and teach some of these things to improve school climate, culture, and those kinds of things.

Another one is called the Metro Public Health Department Youth Risk Behavior Survey. And another one is health screening, which includes COVID-19 testing. And another one is called Universal Behavior.

And then there’s a wrap-around service where somebody contacts your kid throughout the year. It could be phoned or in-person talking to them. And then there’s family life and sexual health education.

Leahy: We’re getting into territory there with what’s going on right now where you can see these school districts are trying to influence your children on really important topics without your knowledge or consent. Carol Swain looks like she wants to ask you a question.

Swain: I would just like to commend you on the legislation. I think it’s brilliant, and it is necessary because there is a very open agenda to indoctrinate our children. They don’t hide their aims and intents, and some parents are so busy, they are totally unaware of what has taken place.

Hulsey: That’s the problem. When your kid comes home with a packet of information, a lot of times, it doesn’t even make it to the house. And the burden is on you to go through all that and decide whether you want your kid to take this class or not.

Some of these deal, in fact, it lists right here self-esteem, healthy relationships, gender identity, and sexual orientation. And as you said, a lot of times, somebody’s worldview teaching that to your children is not your worldview.

But the burden is on you to opt your kid out. And what this bill says is, no, we want to shift the burden over to opting in. If you want your kid to take those classes, you have to opt-in. Otherwise, your kid doesn’t take them.

Swain: What’s happened that’s different with education is that we have activists that have gone into teaching, and many of the interactions between the children and the teachers, it’s scripted by the National Education Association or some curriculum that is designed just to indoctrinate.

Hulsey: That’s exactly correct. This way it’s actually more transparent. If you want your kid to take those things taught by who’s teaching it, then you’ve got to opt into it.

Leahy: Let’s ask you this question. Do you have a sponsor in the State Senate who will be introducing this bill?

Hulsey: Yes. If you hold on.

Leahy: We believe you. That’s important that you got a sponsor. Sometimes they put these out. They don’t have to be introduced into the state Senate, I think, until February 15th.

The good news is it will be in the state senate as well. What do you think the path is going to be for this bill in the Tennessee General Assembly? Let’s start with the House of Representatives this session.

Hulsey: The first committee it’s going to come up in front of is going to be the education subcommittee, and I’m assuming that. That seems to be the general path, and if it makes it out of that, of course, it’ll go to the education-full. Now, there might be another committee. It might be double referred, I’m not sure, but I’m pretty positive that will be the first committee it hits.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.