A new twist in the debate over health and sex education
Posted by sanityinjection on June 19, 2008
Not a lot of things shock me anymore in this day and age, but I have to admit this story did. In a suburban Boston high school, over a dozen high school girls under 17 deliberately got themselves pregnant, intending to raise their children together. It is speculated that the girls felt that having a baby would give them someone who would “love them unconditionally”.
Ironically, this is the same school where two of the staff at the school health center resigned because they were not allowed to prescribe birth control pills to students without parental permission. While anyone ought to be able to understand that school personnel do not have the right to replace parents in making medical decisions for children, apparently it never occurred to these geniuses that the girls had no interest in taking them.
This strikes me as a colossal failure in health education. Clearly, these girls understood how babies are made. But apparently at no point did anyone bother to instruct them about the difficult responsibilities of parenting, especially as an unmarried teenager, and the impact that a pregnancy would have on their education and indeed, their entire lives. (And let me be clear, the instruction should have been for both genders.)
I am not against sex education or discussion of contraception in school health curriculum. But what good does it do to teach teenagers how to put on a condom if you haven’t managed to convey why teenage pregnancy is undesirable in the first place? This is a school which has gone to great lengths to help teens who become mothers to stay in school, which isn’t a bad thing. But when you have a few pregnancies every year and it becomes a normal site to see strollers in the hallways, doesn’t it start to send the message that teen motherhood is just a choice like joining the softball team or singing in the choir?