Tennessee Sex Ed Ban

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, May 14, 2012

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law the controversial bill that would ban teachers from discussing any so-called gateway sexual activity in sex education courses.

Sex education in Tennessee schools already takes a stance emphasizing abstinence, but the newly signed HB 3621/SB 3310 will now require sex ed to "exclusively and emphatically promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, regardless of a student's current of prior sexual experience."

What's more, educators are prohibited from discussing non-coital sexual activity such as genital touching as an alternative to sex, which legislators have designated as the offending "gateway" sexual behavior. Outside instructors or organizations who do discuss gateway sexual behavior in a sex ed class can be fined $500, according to the law.

The bill was passed by the House last month with 68 votes for it and 23 against it, after easily clearing the Senate at 29 votes to one.

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