TN Bill Aims to Remove Non-Discrimination Protections for LGBTQ+ Students

For Immediate Release: April 15, 2024



GLSEN Calls for Veto of Tennessee Bill That Removes Non-Discrimination Protections for LGBTQ+ Students


April 15, 2024GLSEN, the leading national non-profit working to support LGBTQ+ youth in K-12 schools, calls on Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to veto bill HB1634. If passed, the bill removes from the Teacher Code of Ethics enumerated non-discrimination protections, including protections for LGBTQ+ students. The proposed bill removes critical guidelines in favor of vague, general language. Tennessee's current law prohibits a teacher from unfairly excluding a student from participation, denying benefits to a student, or granting any advantage to a student based on family, cultural, political, or religious background including race, sex, and sexual orientation.

GLSEN’s Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers (they/she) provided the following statement condemning the action:

"H.B. 1634 is a dangerous bill that strips away essential protections for LGBTQ+ students in our classrooms. Allowing teachers to discriminate based on sexual orientation and family, social, or cultural backgrounds not only endangers students' safety and well-being but also tears away at the foundation of an inclusive learning environment. While states around the country and the federal government are working to strengthen non-discrimination protections in schools, the Tennessee legislature is regrettably moving backwards with this harmful bill. We adamantly call on Governor Lee to veto this legislation. Every student should be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve in our schools."

Chris Sanders, Executive Director of Tennessee Equality Project, shared: “Every student at every school deserves to be safe and protected. Policy sets the tone for a safe or unsafe climate. Removing protections for students will not improve the educational outcomes for students or solve any problem. But it will deepen the crisis for students facing racism and gender discrimination.”    

For press inquiries, please reach out to:

Madison Hamilton, Director of Communications and Public Voice, GLSEN
Mark Umbach, Lucky Break PR


GLSEN is a multi-racial intergenerational LGBTQ+ organization working nationally and locally to transform K-12 educational systems in the United States. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools, via action at the national, state, and local level. Since 1990, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ+ students across the United States and helped launch an international movement to address LGBTQ+ issues in education.