Opponents of SB 3310, the bill to reform Tenenssee’s sex education laws, have said that it precludes things like holding hands in the hall or kissing and that teachers will get sued if they don’t “break it up.”

The number of distortions opponents have made in support of their assertions are almost too many to explain.  But here are the key ones.

1. The term most often distorted is “gateway sexual activities.” The term is defined, in part, by reference to provisions in the Criminal Code. When you put the definitions found in the Criminal Code into the defintion in the bill, here is what the term means:

“The intentional touching of any other person’s primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast, or the intentional touching of the clothing cover the immediate area of the other person’s primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast IF that intentional touching can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arrousal or gratification.”

Hand holding and two lips touching in a kiss are clearly not covered, even if it is for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

2.  The bill makes it clear that its provisions apply to the Family Life Curriculum and to instruction, not to activities taking place in the hall or cafeteria.  In fact, we worked with the Department of Education on all these definitions and they testified that the provisions in the bill were consistent with what the State Board of Education’s Family Life Curriculum is supposed to require already but which lacks the defintions needed to keep outside groups from circumventing the Board’s intention (that’s why we need definitions!).

3.  The bill does provide a cause of action to parents against outside groups like Planned Parenthood if they promote what Planned Parenthood promotes such as the use of “oral sex play” and “anal sex play” to our kids as a form of “birth control” helpful to satisfy their sexual urges without risk of pregnancy. (The words in quotes are PP’s words, not mine.)

4. The bill specifically says that teachers employed by the school district can’t be sued, period, even if the teacher promotes the things Planned Parenthood teaches.  The bill actually says that the provisions about suing “shall not apply to instruction by teachers employed by the LEA.”  The reason: we didn’t want to spend taxpayer money defending lawsuits and there is accountablity for teachers to principals and school board members who are elected by parents.  Outside groups get a slap on the wrist right now, if that.