Bill Would Require Parental Consent Before Prevention Discussion

AP

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would require parental consent before child care agencies can discuss sexual abuse prevention with a child is advancing in the Legislature.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Brentwood, passed the Senate 26-6 on Wednesday. The companion bill remains in a House committee.

Currently, child care providers send notices home to parents informing them of personal safety training with their children.

But Johnson said there's no specific mention of the section on sexual abuse, which sometimes includes language referring to private body parts.

His bill would require the notice to include the discussion of child sexual abuse prevention and also require the parent or guardian to sign a consent form.

Some lawmakers who opposed the legislation said it could work against the child because his or her parent may actually be the perpetrator and not provide consent.

"The parent least likely to consent may be the one doing the abuse," said Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden. "The children that most need the instruction won't get it."

Besides Herron, the other dissenting voters were: Sens. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville; Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis; Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga; Lowe Finney, D-Jackson; and Jim Kyle, D-Memphis.

Read the full text of SB3419 on the General Assembly's Web site at: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us

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