Tennessee Governor Signs Controversial Sex Education Bill

GOP Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has signed a controversial bill in regards to sex education. The bill bans teachers from condoning what they call “gateway sexual activity,” like touching.

The law, according to critics is too vague, and could possibly hinder discussion about safe sexual behavior.

Huffington Post states that the bill has stirred nationwide controversy, and even appeared on comedian Stephen Colbert’s show. Colbert stated:

“Kissing and hugging are the last stop before reaching Groin Central Station, so it’s important to ban all the things that lead to the things that lead to sex.”

According to CNBC, David Smith, a spokesman for Republican Governor Bill Haslam stated:

“The bill language and provisions are generally in line with our current standards and law.”

David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, explains that the bill does not ban condoning kissing and hugging.

He also explained that the new law was authored partially because of reported incidents that teachers were actually instructing their students on ways to have sexual gratification without risking getting pregnant.

CNBC further reported that under the new law, Tennessee teachers, as well as speakers from outside groups, such as Planned Parenthood, could see fines of up to $500 for either promoting or condoning what they consider “gateway sexual activities.”

Jerry Winters, a spokesman for the Tennessee Education Association, believes that the bill is not clear enough. He stated that:

“The very ambiguous language in this bill certainly puts teachers in a very difficult situation [when it comes to knowing what to teach].”

When speaking about the current sex education program in Tennessee Winters said:

“It does focus on abstinence, but in this modern world to say that ‘just say no’ is the answer to teenage pregnancy is putting your head in the sand.”

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