SB 3310 - Requires Abstinence-Centered Sex Education in Schools - Tennessee Key Vote


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Title: Requires Abstinence-Centered Sex Education in Schools

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Title: Requires Abstinence-Centered Sex Education in Schools

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that requires abstinence-centered sex education in schools, effective July 1, 2012.


  • Prohibits a Local Educational Agency (LEA) from using an organization or an individual to teach a “family life” curriculum if that organization or individual endorses any non-abstinence or “gateway sexual activity”(Sec. 2).
  • Defines “abstinence” as not participating in any activity that places an individual at risk for pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease (Sec. 2).
  • Defines “gateway sexual activity” as sexual contact that encourages an individual to participate in non-abstinent behavior (Sec. 2).
  • Defines “family life education” as abstinence-centered sex education that focuses on "character and human development, decision-making, abstinence, contraception and disease prevention" (Sec. 2).
  • Requires every LEA within a county to implement a program of family life education if pregnancies among 11-18 year olds exceeds 19.5 per 1000 for that county (Sec. 2).
  • Specifies that family life education should provide age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade (Sec. 2).
  • Requires family life education programs to promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence (Sec. 2).
  • Requires LEAs to notify parents and legal guardians 30 days prior to beginning the instruction of a family life curriculum (Sec. 2).
  • Authorizes parents to review the material their child will be instructed in a family life curriculum (Sec. 2).
  • Authorizes parents to excuse their children from parts of the family life education curriculum by submitting a written request to the student's teacher, counselor or principal, or excuse the student from the entirety of the curriculum by making a written request to the principal (Sec. 2).
  • Prohibits the following distribution of materials on school property (Sec. 2):
    • Displays or demonstration of devices designed for sexual stimulation; and
    • Distribution of contraception.
  • Authorizes the distribution of medically accurate information about contraception and its ability to reduce the chance of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, only if such information “clearly informs” students that “only abstinence removes all risk” (Sec. 2).
  • Requires family life education to cover topics including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 2):
    • Student communication with parents and guardians about sex;
    • Raising children within the context of marriage;
    • Raising children as a single teen parent;
    • Refusal skills to resist sexual activity; and
    • Identification of healthy relationships.
  • Specifies that if a student receives instruction that does not comply with this act from an organization or individual not employed by the LEA, the parent or legal guardian of that child has cause of action against the instructor for actual damages and attorney and court fees (Sec. 2).
  • Specifies that if the parent or guardian is the prevailing party to the action, the individual or organization may be fined up to $500 (Sec. 2).

Title: Requires Abstinence-Centered Sex Education in Schools