Sex education chattanooga
The law in Tennessee governing sex ed at the time said coursework must “include presentations encouraging abstinence from sexual intercourse during the teen and pre-teen years.” When we learned about condoms, we were told they could have microscopic holes in them that made it possible for sperm to pass through, impregnating our now-used bodies.legitimate option, and banning any discussion that could be perceived as encouragement of “gateway sexual activity.” Educators who crossed this murky line could face legal action.(In reaction, Stephen Colbert deadpanned that “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.”) To define the key words, “sexual activity”—touching someone’s “primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast”—the legislators cribbed from Tennessee’s criminal code.The federal government has been funding abstinence education for the past 35 years, even though it has never been shown to substantially lower teen pregnancy rates or prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
We had heard the whispering in the hallways; we had read the accusations scribbled on the bathroom stalls.
Tennessee, however, is one of only two states that can fine the groups that teach sex ed for not complying with the law.
Last year, Tennessee also passed a bill that requires sex ed teachers to “inform students…concerning the process of adoption and its benefits.” As I watched my home state make headlines, I thought about my sex ed course.
I would be spending the next four days with Whittle and her counterpart, Matt Boals, as they launched into a teaching tour that would have them speaking to about 3,000 students by the end of the school year.
That week, the pair were working at a middle school in a town where the main street was lined with fast-food restaurants and houses with peeling paint. “I just really don’t know what to expect.” Sex ed was held in the school’s gym, where rickety wooden bleachers stretched across a scarred hardwood basketball court.