Abstinence-Only Curriculum Makes Schools Scared to Implement Rape Prevention Law in Tennessee

August 29, 2017

In response to growing concerns about child sexual abuse, Tennessee lawmakers enacted a law encouraging schools to provide prevention education to teachers and students.

But the 2014 measure, known "Erin's Law," has run into an unanticipated obstacle — one also created by state lawmakers.

The so-called "Gateway law," approved by the legislature in 2012, allows for teachers and school districts to be penalized for providing anything but abstinence-based sex education. It prohibits any discussion of "gateway" behaviors that could lead to premarital sex.

As a result, many Tennessee public schools aren't talking to kids about sex abuse prevention at all — for fear that broaching the subject will spur questions from kids about healthy sexuality, something that could lead to civil fines or lawsuits by parents under the 2010 law.

View Full Story From The Tennessean