School Sex Debate

September 24, 2012 in Best of Both, High School Age

While at the gym this morning, I tuned into a heated school sex debate on one of the news channels all about the morning after pill a.k.a. plan B pill being offered to New York City High School students as part of a pilot program to curb teen pregnancy WITHOUT their parents’ informed consent.  As a healthcare professional, I can hardly believe that medications are being allowed to be distributed to minors that have such serious consequences.  I mean the schools aren’t allowed to distribute an aspirin for a fever or headache without prior written consent and a note from the child’s physician with the indication for the medication.  While this pilot program will affect only 13 NYC High Schools at this point in time, this to me is a very slippery slope.  During the school sex debate, officials explained that parents had been given the opportunity to OPT OUT by completing a form and returning it to the school.  If the parent opted out, their child would not be eligible to receive the medication.

My concern is how many letters really make it home to begin with?  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve missed notifications from the school and I feel like I’m an involved parent.  Only about 1% of the parents had opted out since the letters were sent in January.  This was a point of contention for those opposed to the pilot program.  They felt that the Board of Education did not do enough to educate parents and provide the information required to make an informed decision.

The New York City Department of Health defended it position by citing that there were over 7000 unplanned pregnancies in girls 17 and younger last year alone.  The NYC DOH said that these pregnancies attributed to more than 70% of these girls dropping out of school.  While I whole heartedly agree that something needs to be done about the horrific numbers of teenage pregnancies – I don’t think this is the way to go.

This school sex debate is far from over-we haven’t heard the last of this yet.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think the school system should be allowed to provide this type of medication to our children?