Two weeks ago, we wrote about a bill that angered many parents in Tennessee. Put forth by state Senator Stacey Campfield, the bill would have reduced federal welfare benefits by 30 percent for families if their children failed a grade in school—unless parents took action. This included a parenting class, meeting twice with teachers, and taking kids to tutoring.
After pressure from parents, and a persistent eight-year-old, the bill was dropped by Campfield.
Eight-year-old Aamira Fetuga followed Campfield at the state Capitol, telling the Senator why she didn't like the bill. She said she didn't want her lights to go off. Fetuga also asked him, at the prodding of the adults with her, "Why do you want to cut benefits for people?"
In the video, Campfield accused the parents of using the child as a political prop. He wrote on his blog yesterday, "Anyone notice the parent pulled the child out of school to use her as a prop to fight against parental accountability for their children not being in school?"
Here's a look at the video from The Tennessean:
Despite dropping the bill, Campfield feels, as he wrote to TakePart in an email, that "If your child is failing their classes, if your child is not showing up to school, if you child has quit school, that is unacceptable. It is highly unlikely that child will ever escape poverty. That to me borders on child abuse."
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Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart. She has taught English in Vietnam and tutors homeless children in Los Angeles. Email Jenny | @jennyinglee | TakePart.com