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Planned Parenthood

Middle & East Tennessee

The State of Sexuality Education

[Comprehensive sex education] can get young people to think critically about the sexuality issues that set up the world around them affect how the interact with that world, and directly impact the decisions they will make throughout their lives" -Martha Kempner

 Tennessee Public schools require any district teaching Family Life Education use a curriculum that “emphatically promotes only sexual risk avoidance through abstinence and encourage sexual health by helping students understand how non-martial sexual activity affects the whole person.” Information provided to students must be “factually and medically accurate” and include information on “age of consent, puberty, pregnancy, childbirth, and STDs”.

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-1304

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“Despite the curriculum, despite the threats put toward teachers to maintain this mantra… it’s not working. Because when a kid comes to me and asks, ‘Can straight people get AIDS?’ can you imagine if he never asked and he just assumed that he couldn’t? That’s what’s happening. That’s what you’re creating.” –Ben

Research continues to show that these Abstinence-Only until Marriage Curriculums, like those mandated by the state of Tennessee, do not delay sexual activity and may in fact deter contraception use at first sex.1

PPMET believes all Tennesseans deserve Comprehensive Sexuality Education. These programs have four main goals:

  • to provide accurate information about human sexuality
  • to provide an opportunity for young people to develop and understand their values, attitudes, and insights about sexuality
  • to help young people develop relationships and interpersonal skills, and
  • to help young people exercise responsibility regarding sexual relationships, which includes addressing abstinence, pressures to become prematurely involved in sexual intercourse, and the use of contraception and other sexual health measures.

“Sex education is so important because you need to give people the tools to make their own decisions. You have a right to know how your body works. This stuff changes lives.”- Victoria

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If you would like to advocate for comprehensive sex education, here are some tips and resources to help you improve the quality of sexuality education:

  • As a Parent You Can Become an Advocate:
    • Learn what your school offers in sex education
    • Attend a local school board meeting
    • Support honest, balanced sex education that is comprehensive and that includes education about abstinence and contraception
    • Knowing what training your teachers have had in sex education
    • Knowing the official school system policies on sex education
  • As a Teacher You Can Become an Advocate:
    • Go through a Planned Parenthood Professional Training
    • Talk to your Principal/Superintendent about after-school programming
    • Knowing the official school system policies on sex education
  • As a Youth You Can Become an Advocate:
    • Learn what your school offers in sex education
    • Attend a local school board meeting
    • Support honest, balanced sex education that is comprehensive and that includes education about abstinence and contraception
    • Join the PG-13 Players or FYI Teens

For more information about Comprehensive Sexuality Education:

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The State of Sexuality Education