- Tennessee state law does not mandate the teaching of sexuality education. However, schools are required to teach a family life education program if their county pregnancy rate exceeds 19.5 pregnancies per every 1,000 females ages 15-17.
- All sex ed curricula must stress abstinence.
- Sex ed curricula are not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- All sex ed curricula must include instruction on consent.
- Sex ed curricula are not required to be comprehensive, but it is required to be medically accurate.
- Parents and guardians are able to remove their children from sex ed instruction upon written request. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
- The Tennessee Health Education Standards include instruction on STIs beginning in grade 3. Beginning in grade 6, the standards include the expectation that students will learn to “identify abstinence from sexual activity as the responsible and preferred choice for adolescents.” The Tennessee Lifetime Wellness Curriculum Standards mandate a section on sexuality and relationships. The standards describe abstinence as a positive choice but also include instruction on contraception.
Some Sex Ed Advocates Within the State
- Girls, Inc. of Chattanooga
- Just Educate
- Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi
- Women’s Fund of Chattanooga
For more detailed information on how various districts in the state have been implementing these standards — and for recent legislation — you can read SIECUS’s Tennessee profile.