Michelle Rhee’s national education group StudentsFirst named Tennessee State Representative John Ragan its “Reformer of the Year” in 2012. StudentsFirst continued to support Rep. Ragan after he sponsored legislation known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would have prevented school employees from talking with students about being gay. 11-year-old Marcel Neergaard, who had come out as gay, and was severely bullied in school, created a MoveOn Petition with his family, asking StudentsFirst to withdraw its award to Rep. Ragan. The Neergards worked with allies, and garnered state and national press, and more than 53,000 people signed their petition. Within days, StudentsFirst denounced the anti-gay legislation and rescinded its recognition of Rep. Ragan.
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