The bill allows parents to sue teachers and others for "promoting or condoning 'gateway sexual activity' by students."
(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons ) BY SAMANTHA KUBOTA ANCHOR CHRISTINA HARTMAN A controversial bill in Tennessee awaits the governor’s signature before it becomes law. The bill has garnered national headlines because it allows parents to sue teachers and outside parties for “promoting or condoning ‘gateway sexual activity” by students.” WREG explains. “This is some serious language to make sure sex ed focuses on abstinence but still allows for discussion of contraceptives.” Allows for discussion of contraceptives but teachers can’t encourage their use. WREG, the CBS station in Memphis, reports the main problem people have with the bill is the potential for punishment of teachers. International Business Times reports the bill “... would allow parents to take legal action against teachers who promote or condone "gateway sexual activity," and instructors who violate the bill may be subject to a $500 fine. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which provide sex education information in schools, could also be subjected to the fine.” TIME points out many opponents are expecting the worst... “Some detractors argue that it could unreasonably punish teachers for allowing students to cuddle, hold hands or even hug, whether in the halls between classes or at a school dance.” The NBC station in Memphis, WMC TV, puts the story into context. “61 percent of Memphis city high school students and 27 percent of middle school students have had sex. That’s according to a 2009 youth risk behavior survey.” WSMV, the NBC station in Nashville, took a different angle , noting supporters of the bill are saying something must be done. “They cite a high teen pregnancy rate and say it’s time to try something new. However, opponents say this bill goes too far and could make Tennessee a national laughingstock." Speaking of which...The Colbert Report picked up on the story... “We desperately need to intervene earlier. To keep kids from engaging in gateway gateway sexual activity. But Gawker, unlike its normal style , steered clear of the jokes, noting instead.... "Tennessee's legislature has spent the last few months debating a slew of eyebrow-raising bills, including the recently ratified "teach the controversy" bill, and the national blight known as "Don't Say Gay."