Not a Subscriber? Register Now
Controversial ‘Abstinence Only’ Sex Ed Law Draws Praise, Criticism in Tenn.May 21, 2012 by James Swift
Earlier this month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a controversial new sex education law. According to the bill, the new law “exclusively and emphatically promotes sexual risk avoidance through abstinence” and forbids teachers from mentioning “gateway sexual activity” in the state’s sex education courses.
The freshly inked legislation, known as HB 3621 in the state’s House of Representatives and SB 3310 in the Senate, bars teachers from discussing sexual activity such as genital touching as alternatives to intercourse. Under the new law, which passed with large majorities in both chambers, instructors and organizations may be fined $500 for discussing so-called gateway sexual activity in sex education classes.
Reactions to the bill, as well as what “gateway sexual activity” entails, have been mixed.
According to Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis), who testified in defense of the bill earlier this year, every member of the state’s House of Representatives “knows what gateway sexuality is.”
“Everybody knows there are certain buttons when you push them, certain switches when you turn them on, there's no stopping,” DeBerry said during his testimony. “Especially for undisciplined, untrained, untaught and unraised children who just want to feel affection from somebody or anybody.”
David Fowler, President of the Family Action Council, assisted state lawmakers in drafting the bill. He recently defined “gateway sexual activity” to PolitiFact.com as “intentional touching” of “the primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast of a human being.”
A statement from the Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region insists that the bill’s definitions are too vague, and that abstinence-only education does not prevent youth from getting pregnant or contracting sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
"Tennessee students need more information about puberty, their own bodies and proven methods that prevent pregnancy and the spread of disease,” the statement reads. “Denying them this prevention information in order to exclusively promote abstinence until marriage does our students a serious disservice.”
Photo via www.respectlove.opdv.ny.gov
You must Login before leaving a comment.
Latest News Articles
Gary Gately | 12/05/13Report Urges Ban on Detaining Status Offenders... Read More
Susan Ferriss | 11/27/13Nation's Largest School Police Force, in L.A., Wil... Read More
James Swift | 11/25/13How Can Youth Service Providers Keep Sex Offenders... Read More
James Swift | 11/25/13Long-Awaited Report Reveals New Information on San... Read More
Youth Today Staff | 11/22/13Hispanics Doubly Hampered by Obamacare Rollout... Read More
| 11/21/13Are the Hurdles Too High? To be Young, Male and Ho... Read More
Gary Gately | 11/13/13Parity Law Means More Treatment for Youths’ Mental... Read More
Lisa Pilnik | 11/12/13Listen to Me: Youth Share What They Want From Afte... Read More
Latest Tweets From Youth Today
Holidays in the Juvenile Justice System
Written by Judge George W. Timberlake, Ret. | 12/04/2013
My wife, Mary Jo, and I were snowbound in Michigan while working on a building project so we lost Thanksgiving with our families in southern Illinois. Missing a holiday with the dozens of brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles got me to wondering – what is the holiday experience for a kid in detention?
I remember ordering some kids to serve detention during holidays as a “tough love” approach to behavioral change and, later, performing population reviews to release as many kids as possible. Because I wanted to know the current experience of judges, detention centers and the kids...
Report Urges Ban on Detaining Status Offenders
Gary Gately | 12/05/2013 | Full Article
Nation's Largest School Police Force, in L.A., Will Stop Ticketing Kids 12 and Younger
Susan Ferriss | 11/27/2013 | Full Article
How Can Youth Service Providers Keep Sex Offenders Out?
James Swift | 11/25/2013 | Full Article