Tell Tennessee Governor That Hand Holding, Hugging and Cuddling Is Not A Crime

Target: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

Goal: To convince Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto new legislation that bans innocent acts of affection among teenagers and sanctions legal penalties against teachers who provide information on sexual topics outside the abstinence-only curriculum.

Tennessee has battled with high teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates for decades, despite its abstinence-based sex education. The old-world and outdated attitude that teenagers will restrain from sexual intercourse if denied education on safe sex practices is completely inadequate for a number of reasons. Media and popular culture is saturated with sexual deviancy, and scientifically, raging hormones urge intimate contact between young males and females. Nevertheless, state lawmakers are convinced that stringent abstinence-only curriculum can prevent teenage canoodling, and as a result have created new definitions of what constitutes sexual misbehavior.

In the new Senate Bill 3310, teachers and students alike are warned against ‘gateway sexual activity,’ and those who entertain wrongful deeds will be punished. However, the bill does not outline what constitutes ‘gateway sexual activity,’ and opponents argue that such vague language can include any activity that may lead to sex, such as hand-holding, hugging, cuddling, and kissing. Innocent acts of affection are not a crime; sexual impulses are present in everyone’s genetic make-up, and everyone should learn the fundamentals of safe-sex to help prevent transmission of STIs and stop unplanned pregnancies. Governor Bill Haslam must veto this new, outrageous and undefined legislation to prevent unmitigated penalties against teachers as well as young couples in love.

It’s clear in the stipulations of Senate Bill 3310 that Tennessee lawmakers wish to fortify the already severe laws regarding sex education, which state that schools offering sex-ed must emphasize abstinence. If the new bill passes, teachers will be forced to “exclusively and emphatically promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, regardless of a student’s current or prior sexual experience,” and those who teach anything beyond such curriculum will face legal penalties from parents as well as the school district.

However, statistics show that Tennessee’s push for abstinence-only education is a failure. According to Advocates for Youth, the state’s teen pregnancy and STI rates are higher than the national average, and Tennessee high school students are less likely to use a condom during sex.

Senate Bill 3310 undermines the value of sex education and makes teachers a scapegoat for a failed curriculum. Please sign the petition below to help convince Governor Haslam to veto this new, inappropriate, and out-dated legislation.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Governor Bill Haslam,

Senate Bill 3310’s “gateway sexual activity” is a rudimentary, unclear and completely ridiculous idea, formulated by overzealous advocates of abstinence, and does not promote adequate sexual education. It’s simply an excuse to punish both teachers and students for a failing curriculum.

Promoting and teaching abstinence-only education has resulted in higher teen pregnancy and STI rates than the rest of the country. In fact, Tennessee teens are less likely to use a condom during intercourse; no wonder the state faces abnormally high percentages of youth pregnancy.

Between mainstream media and pop culture, sex is everywhere, and the hormonal urges of teenagers only intensify the curiosity surrounding sex. Attempting to ban innocent activities like hugging and cuddling because they may lead to sex is unreasonable. Furthermore, allowing the prosecution of teachers who inform students of contraceptives is morally unethical. Teachers should not be blamed for teenage angst and the state’s deficient education system.

Take action now to prevent future prosecution of teachers and students, and veto Senate Bill 3310.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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3 Comments

  1. All these rules about hugging and touching do more harm then good.I was in school when this stuff started and it only made you feel more like you were living in a police state when you couldn’t have a hug or just a gentle touch when you hurt yourself. It made it seem as though the teachers were cold and uncaring when actually they would rather soothe you.

  2. According to the Christian WRONG everything leads to something BAD. yup is does, ignorance is what you want and look at the results, high teen pregnancies etc….

    Keep the masses ignorant and you rule them. NOT

  3. A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation. Children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anyone else. If children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help others not to tease or bully them.
    It should not matter if a child comes from a FAMILY of a mother and father, 2 mothers or 2 fathers or a single mother or father as long as they are LOVED.
    Sex Education should be taught on LGBT, Contraceptives, Masturbation, Pregnancy and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier. Children should be taught the JOYS and the CONSEQUENCES of having sex ( Pregnancy, STD, AIDS and others.) Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in. Geometry and Algebra can be learned in college if needed. I believe this is a solution. Stopping the damage before it starts so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principles where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. If children grow up with these values, I believe business and government would benefit greatly. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

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