Missouri’s K-12 public schools could be banned from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. State Representative Ann Kelley, R-Lamar, is sponsoring a bill that she says is modeled after Florida’s law.

The Missouri House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education held a public hearing today on her legislation.

“Kids are also very naive and easily influenced. Therefore, we must keep our educational instruction pure without the political nuances,” said Kelley.

State Representative Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, is an openly gay member. He asked Kelley which sexual orientations should be banned.

“We all have a moral compass and my moral compass is compared with (the) Bible,” she said.

“Lady, I believe during your testimony, you said that you didn’t want teachers’ personal beliefs entering the classroom. But it seemed a lot like your personal belief, you would like to enter all Missouri classrooms,” said Christofanelli.

“You can believe something without and without and without putting that onto somebody by the way you behave,” said Kelley.

Stephen Taylor, a high school teacher in Kansas, said the proposal will not protect kids – it will protect a certain viewpoint.

“Protecting students, I talked to my students every day and I talk to them about their sexuality. I’m open about those conversations and I’m not going to stop. Arrest me,” he said. “I don’t care. What really is going to protect students is legislating things that are actually dangerous. I don’t know, guns?”

Suzanne Whitman, a parent, also spoke in opposition to the bill.

“What I would say, to kind of paraphrase something that we all should have learned in kindergarten, is keep your hate to yourself,” said Whitman.

The legislation would also require the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to set up a system to notify parents of any change in their child’s mental, emotional, or physical health.

The committee has not yet voted on House Bill 634.

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