Sex ed in limbo over vague TN abstinence law - WSMV Channel 4

Sex ed in limbo over vague TN abstinence law

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

School starts in a week, and those who teach sex education said they're still completely confused about what they can and can't teach. It's because of the new sex education law that prohibits talking about so-called "gateway sexual activity."

While the department of education said the law won't change anything in the family life curriculum, those who are actually in the classroom don't know what they are allowed to say.

"Many of us are very cautious about whether we can go into classrooms and what we are going to be able to say," said Lyndsey Godwin, with Planned Parenthood.

The new sex ed law requires teachers to focus on abstinence only and prohibits the promotion of what they call gateway sexual activity.

Educators' biggest concern is they can be prosecuted if they are accused of promoting sex, but the law is vague about what that actually means.

"If we talk about condoms or we talk about sexual activity as being a fact of life that people do choose to be sexually active, and that these sexual behaviors are part of it, is that promoting it? That's where the question is, and that's where the gray area is. And that's where we still don' t know what is going to happen," Godwin said. "We want to work within the Tennessee code, but it's hard because it's so vague."

Planned Parenthood is waiting to receive some guidelines from Metro schools officials on how they interpret the new law before going into any schools and teaching sex ed.

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