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Critics blast Tennessee’s ‘no holding-hands bill’

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Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, said Tennessee is ahead of most other states and has closed a loophole.

"I think that is unique in that rather than this legislation just saying there needs to be an emphasis on abstinence education, it also prohibits too explicit sex education from being either put in schools under the guise of abstinence education, or in opposition to an abstinence education program," she said.

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Democratic Rep. John Deberry supported the new limits on what can be covered in sex ed class as a way to help teenagers from going too far.

"When individuals are touching one another’s intimate parts ... this is sexual activity that has its ultimate goal of penetration," said the Memphis Democrat and minister.

Student Josiah Pegues, 14, of Nashville said he’s already made up his mind about sex — for now, at least.

"It’s best to abstain," said the ninth-grader who aspires to be an FBI agent. "You don’t want to get anyone pregnant or get an STD. It could mess up your future."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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