The last thing hardcore right-wing conservatives need is more cannon fodder for their whole "America is burning to the ground" argument. But, whatever; we're not worried about them here -- that's fellow Voice
scribe Roy Edroso's job
According to the Post
, the Department of Health confirmed that 13 public schools across the New York City area have stocked up with morning-after pills in an effort to combat teen pregnancy -- according to recent numbers, more than 7,000 underage NYC residents are pregnant before the age of 17.
Parents were told about the move and they were given the option of opting-out of the program for their offspring. As of now, only 1 to 2 percent
of parents have chosen to do so.
The inclusion of Plan B in public schools is part of a new Department of Education program called CATCH
(Connecting Adolescents to Contraceptive Health), which seeks to encourage a healthy sexual lifestyle for teenagers in school. Free condoms at school is another provision in this city-wide program but this is the first time the City has ever offered Plan B in its schools.
And, furthermore, it might be the first time any school system in the country has, too.
Last year, the Department of Education conducted a Plan B pilot program that was not picked up by the media: More than 500 students in five different schools were given the contraceptive while another 580 students were given a normal birth control pill. And, this fall, it is continuing anti-teen-pregnancy efforts by providing students with Depo-Provera, which is an injected treatment given every three months.
Another main concern of the Department of Education here, though, is the consequential drop-out of those affected by teen pregnancy; a situation that has become a more prevalent problem over the past few years. According to city data, 28 percent of teens who enter high school have already have sex and more than half will leave high school sexually active. The question that has always existed is, how can schools combat this drop-out rate in a way that still respects the students' privacy?
The Plan B program is sure to make some noise with parents groups; the implementation of Plan B is definitely not in the PTA manifesto. But, in the end, doesn't this all sound like scared adults screaming, "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!" Ugh, parents are so lame.