Tennessee Senate to Teens: Hand Holding Too Risque
Lawmakers approved bill to warn youth that handholding is “gateway sexual activity”
In a shocking move, the Tennessee Senate recently voted to update the state’s abstinence-only sex education law to include hand holding as a “gateway sexual activity” in health classes in schools. In other words, hand holding is to sex like marijuana (the gateway drug) is to substance abuse. Not sure if that analogy quite works. After all, marijuana is a kind of drug but hand holding isn’t a kind of sex. While a teen may get butterflies just thinking about touching the girl or guy they fancy, hand holding has never gotten anyone pregnant. Marijuana, on the other hand, has gotten countless people high — except for Bill Clinton, who claims he never inhaled. But I digress. Here’s what the updated law, which also singles out kissing, requires:
Teachers would not be able to demonstrate hand holding to students, even using health education models.
Teachers who do not abide by the curriculum may be subject to legal action from parents.
The crazy thing about the hand holding bill is that Tennessee teens reportedly have a higher sexual activity rate than youth in other states. An estimated 61 percent of Memphis high school students have had sex, not to mention 27 percent of middle schoolers. Remember that high school in Memphis that made headlines in January 2011 for having 90 students who were either pregnant or had given birth? Yeah, hand holding was to blame for that epidemic. They didn’t need instruction on contraception, peer pressure, self-esteem or fertility awareness methods but on the dangers of hand holding.
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Planned Parenthood has said that the new law isn’t realistic. That’s putting it mildly.