Thursday, October 25, 2007

WTF? - Contraceptives in Middle School

Yes, the title of this post is correct. The health center in King Middle School in Portland, Maine can now dispense birth control pills to girls... without parental consent!

On October 17, 2007, the Portland School Committee in Portland, Maine voted to allow the health center at the King Middle School in Portland, Maine, to offer birth control prescriptions to its students, who range in age from 10 to 15.

Excerpts from the ABC News report follows:
The Portland School Committee voted 7 to 2 last night to allow the health center at the King Middle School in Portland, Maine, to offer birth control prescriptions to its students, who range in age from 10 to 15. Dr. Pat Patterson, the medical director of School-Based Health Services in Portland said she was "thrilled" with the vote.

Proponents of the proposal tacked up black-and-white posters of a baby, contrasting the cost of raising a child with the cost of birth control, while several opponents bowed their heads in prayer. National and local media jostled for positions at the front of the room.

Mary Ibrahim, another Portland resident, said that just because kids may be having sex doesn't mean they should be having sex. And offering birth control services is a form of encouragement. "Let's be leaders. Let's be parents. Let's be grownups," said Ibrahim.

Amanda Rowe, the head nurse in Portland's school health centers, emphasized that students must have a signed parental permission slip to use the student health center. Although, by state law, if a student requests confidentiality, health care workers must honor it. Meaning birth control pills could be prescribed without a parent knowing.

Rowe said that patients fill out an 18-point health history form and risk questionnaire. If a student indicates that they are having sexual relations, the "discussion begins and includes a strong counseling component" said Rowe.

Overall, over the past four years, there were a total of 17 pregnancies at Portland's three middle schools. And that's why the caregivers felt so strongly that offering birth control prescriptions would fill a desperate need. "Many parents are not being honest with themselves. They just don't realize the extent of risky behaviors these kids are engaged in," said Amanda Rowe.
Read the entire ABC News article and view the accompanying video here.
And read the AJC article here.

plez sez:


maybe i'm just stuck in the 70's, but since when has schools been in the business of "planned parenting"?!? i believe that sex ed should be part of the school curriculum, but i am four square against this asinine reasoning for providing 12-, 13-, and 14-year old girls with birth control pills. if the school finds out that little mary jane is playing hide the ding-dong with the little boys at her school, she shouldn't be given a month's supply of contraceptives and sent back to the boys' locker room... i would think that little mary jane's parents (or legal guardian) should be notified and sexual education counseling would be necessary for the entire family.

by allowing youngsters to circumvent the authority of their parents and exercising "their privacy rights" without parental consent is WRONG! this practice shouldn't be done in high schools and it damn well shouldn't be done in middle schools. who would expect a 13-year old girl with the hots for some horny jock on the football team to make a reasonable and level-headed decision about whether to engage in sexual intercourse with that boy? much less decide whether or not she should be popping birth control pills so that she doesn't get pregnant... UGH! this story has made me ill.

if the parents have to be notified if the school nurse gives your child an aspirin, they surely should notify the parents if they are dispensing hormone-altering drugs! this is flat out wrong and those board members who voted for this provision should be removed from office.

and with the free pills, these kids will now think they have free reign to be sexually active and promiscuous... i have no doubt that the rate of STD's will climb dramatically in this community.


LLR said...

I’m right along with you on this one. I just don’t know what is going on. First off how in the hell is the school going to give the stuff away for free. We know who’s paying for this. Why aren’t other meds free?

How much do you wan to bet that those same folk will probably get reelected that is if it’s an elected position.

There is so much stuff that I could write about this, but I think that I would leave it alone.

Also since when do kids have this “right to privacy” like they are 18 years old.

Dave J. said...

I agree, and disagree.

There will always be children who are going to do what they want to do regardless of what their parents tell them, and regardless of any counseling they receive. I believe this type of drastic measure is aimed at providing extreme cases with an extreme solution.

Seriously, if a child's relationship with their parents is good enough that they accept advice, and if their heads are screwed on well enough that they understand the value of counseling, those children don't need to take advantage of this program. It's aimed at the troubled kids that can't or wont get help elsewhere.

Another way to look at birth control is not through the eyes of the would be parent, or their parents, but through the eyes of the unborn child who would most likely have a terrible childhood if born to a 12 year old.

David Sullivan said...

Dude, I am with you. This is the type of fodder that gives the right wing, christian conservatives fuel for the fire. Education, yup. Parental oversight, definitely. Birth control drugs, NFW!!! Am I alarmed with child pregnancy and do I want my boys coming to me saying they knocked up their girl freind, NFW, but that is my problem to deal with. The schools are responsibile for booklearning (sex ed is part of booklearning) and thats it. I am responsibile for the moral and social education of my children.

FERGIE said...

I feel you on the whole birth control pill thing, but what about condoms, or other contraceptives that are meant to protect from STD's?

rikyrah said...

I'm going to say a big HELL NO to this.



Oh no. Not even close.

This is ridiculous.

Absolutely ridiculous.

I am so offended by this.

While I don't believe in Abstinence Only Sex Ed Programs, DISPENSING BIRTH CONTROL IN MIDDLE SCHOOL IS INSANE.


I can't get on board with this. At all.

I don't care what this makes me sound like. I don't care if I sound like a reactionary. I don't care if I sound like a Bible Thumper.

It's just wrong. Wrong.

Why have our standards been lowered so deep?

plez... said...

rikyrah... those are my sentiments EXACTLY! i don't need to say anymore.

sex ed is fine... but handing out condoms and dispensing pharmaceutical drugs to middle school CHILDREN (especially, absent of parent approval or consent) is ridiculous! this is usurping the role of a parent.

Lori said...

I'm no longer shocked by these kind of decisions only saddened. For every step forward seems like we intentionally take ten backward.

plez... said...

i was actually SHOCKED when i first heard this story... over the past couple of days, the shock value has diminished, but i had NO IDEA that our society had sunken to such depths... this is really sad!

sopranolove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sopranolove said...

It is federal illegal to give a minor any...ANY type of medication without notifying parents. That just doesn't make sense. The parents are certainly made aware of the situation. The students just don't need parental consent to receive it. And I honestly don't see too much problem with it.

Maybe you are stuck in the 70's sir, because girls and boys are having sex at MUCH younger ages nowadays. I know of girls from my neighborhood growing up who had their first child at 13...they were pregnant at 12. and it was not uncommon at all.

Condoms and oral contraceptives being given out are not necessarily a planned parenthood tactic...i see them much more as preventative measures than anything else.

I do think it is irresponsible to give them birth control that early, but only because of the fact that their bodies are still in crucial stages of development and there's no telling what Ortho Trycyclen does to such a young body.

But the fact of the matter is these kids ARE having sex, and their parents THINK that they can stop them. But nothing short of locking your kid in a basement with no access to the sex driven media of our day will keep them from exploring sexually if they so choose.

The smartest thing to do is to teach them the virtue and value of waiting, and teach them how to do it right if they decide not to. Don't get me wrong, it breaks my heart that they're sexually active so young these days (even though I'm only 22 myself), but It is completely naive to think that they're not at least thinking about it.

This school system may seem a bit extreme, but I'll bet pregnancy rates drop in that area or at that school.

The last sentence of the article said it all in my opinion...many parents are oblivious (or pretend to be) of their children's risky behavior. I don't think it's encouraging to teach them hot to protect themselves. It's encouraging to let them listen to misogynistic rap lyrics and watch sexually driven shows like the "flavor of love" and "a shot at love", who's largest demographics are 14-20 year olds.

But that's just me, being fairly close to them in age and not being blinded by my role as a parent. I think it makes you a great parent to be concerned about this, and even a little angry. But to disagree, i think you should think about. And if you can, talk about it with your kids (honestly) if they're that age. let them tell you the truth. You may find something very different from what you think...

plez... said...


okay, i'm stuck in the 70's. don't get it twisted, SEX has been around for a LONG LONG TIME! i'm no prude and have no illusions that kids aren't engaging in sexual activity at this young age.

the article states that the children need permission to receive care from the health center, but if they desire privacy, they do not need parental consent to receive contraceptives... and that's where i have a BIG PROBLEM!

and you opine that pregnancy rates will probably decline in that school district. but do you want fewer teenage pregnancies at the expense of a rise in the transmission of STDs, since these little girls will be running around NOT practicing safe sex?!?

my daughter is only six, so i don't plan on having this particular conversation with her for a few years. but i assure you, whatever school she attends will not be engaging in this practice!