Kelsey on slavery-tainted bill: ‘I’m not going to pursue it’

A Republican lawmaker said today he has withdrawn a bill recognizing the Association of Classical and Christian Schools as a church-school accrediting body after learning the group’s founder has defended Southern slavery as “a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence,” reports the Times-Free Press.

“We moved it back to the Calendar Committee,” Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, said in a brief interview as he left the Senate chamber. “I’m not going to pursue it this year.”

Asked whether the bill was dead after he looked into assertions by Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, regarding past writings of Doug Wilson, founder of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, Kesley said, “yeah, I never heard of him.”

Kelsey’s bill sought to add the Association of Classical and Christian Schools to the state’s list of accrediting organizations for church-related schools. The association says the concerns raised by Yarbro are mistaken.

UPDATE/NOTE: News release from the association seeking accreditation, denying the slavery-related contentions, is below.

News release from Association of Classical and Christian Schools
During a hearing on SB1792 on February 22, Senator Yarbro’s stated that there was some recent controversy among ACCS schools for what they were teaching their students about slavery. The Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS) cannot find any evidence that any of our member schools have had controversy over their teachings on slavery, as the Senator claimed. We have contacted Senator Yarbro’s offices for clarification multiple times and we have not received a response. ACCS and ACCS schools are not and have never been associated with racism, pro-slavery, or any type of hate organization. The ACCS is dedicated to serving children of all incomes and backgrounds through a classical Christian education. Students in our schools are taught the core Christian virtues of loving God and loving their neighbor. The ACCS has 250 members across more than 40 states. Our schools have a track-record of educational excellence that can be seen in the success of their graduates. This fall, graduates from ACCS schools have enrolled in a majority of the top 50 national universities, as ranked by US News and World Report. Claims made about ACCS regarding one of our ex-officio board members, Douglas Wilson, are unfounded and the implied conclusions drawn by Mr. Yarbro are false. Mr. Wilson’s views on these topics are not attributable to ACCS. His book, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, is a significant reason for the resurgence of classical Christian education across the country. ACCS appreciates the support of those who sponsored this legislation