Naughty, Naughty: No Hand-Holding for Students in Tennessee

Tennessee lawmakers are catching fire for a new pro-abstinence sex education bill.

hand holding, Tennessee sex education, abstinence

Teachers aren't to talk about "gateway sexual activity" in Tennessee, according to a new sex education law. (Photo: RK Studio/Katie Huisman )

Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

A sex toy used during a classroom demonstration about safe sex caused a major ruckus in Tennessee and prompted lawmakers to enact a pro-abstinence sex education law last month.

The state has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation, but critics are saying this strict law isn't the answer, especially the provision that bars educators from teaching about "gateway sexual activity."

What exactly this means is debatable. Is holding hands, kissing or hugging off limits?

In the bill, gateway sexual activity is defined as:

Sexual contact encouraging an individual to engage in a non-abstinent behavior. A person promotes a gateway sexual activity by encouraging, advocating, urging or condoning gateway sexual activities.

The Associated Press reports the bill is getting some major flack from critics. It's now being called the "no hand-holding bill."

Barry Chase, president of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, is not a fan. He told the AP, "This bill ties the hands of educators in Tennessee and will prevent them from providing the comprehensive education that students want and need and their parents expect."

Supporters of the bill include Democratic Rep. John Deberry. He said, "When individuals are touching one another's intimate parts...this is sexual activity that has its ultimate goal of penetration."

What do you think about Tennessee's pro-abstinence sex education law? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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