Tennessee senators recently passed a bipartisan bill to restrict sex education in the state to, among other things, “Exclusively and emphatically promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, regardless of a student’s current or prior sexual experience.”
One particularly interesting part:
“Instruction of the family life education curriculum may not promote any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with non-coital sexual activity.”
They don’t actually say what “gateway sexual activity” is, but it does guarantee that if parents think their kids learned it at school, they can sue for actual damages plus lawyer’s fees and court costs. I’m not sure exactly what the actual damages for learning about gateway sexual activity are, but it’s nice that they can recoup them.
I also find it interesting that this law only applies to counties in which the teen pregnancy rate exceeds 19.5 per 1000 teens. I guess others are doing their job. As it turns out, only two counties have a higher rate than that (in 2003, anyway) — poor, largely black counties.
I think we’ve got way too many lawmakers if they have time to come up with idiotic poo like this. If the goal is to make everyone even more paranoid about talking about sex, I guess this is a good bill.
Teen pregnancies have been on the decline in the US since about 1990, but they are by far the highest in the bible belt states that are the biggest promoters of this “abstinence only” education. Sure, I think that means their plan is ill-advised and unrealistic, but maybe it means they just need to try to promote ignorance more intensely.