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High School with Pregnancy Spike Unanimously Votes on Contraception Availability

Gloucester, MA
 
Gloucester High School in Massachusetts, which made national headlines in May 2008 when seventeen students were reported pregnant, will make contraception available to its students after a recent school board vote.[1]
 
The district had been discussing the possibility of allowing students access to contraception since the spring of 2008, but the controversy over the alleged “pregnancy pact” between the seventeen young pregnant women temporarily derailed the conversation. A new draft policy released by Gloucester school officials in September 2008 would institute a sexuality education program that encourages effective contraceptive use as well as abstinence free day-care services for the teen mothers who are students at the high school, and contraceptive availability (with parental consent) through the school-based health clinic. With acknowledgment from the superintendent that the majority of teenagers are sexually active, the school committee unanimously voted to allow students access to contraceptives within the school-based health clinic in October.[2]
 
Reaction to the decision was mostly positive. A school survey conducted by students indicated that 86 percent of them were in favor of contraception availability. One mother, whose daughter is one of the seventeen new teen mothers, said she also supports the distribution of contraceptives with parental consent.[3]
 
A sexuality education program and day-care services have yet to be decided on. While other improvements are still on the table, Gloucester High School has made this small step towards comprehensive sex education for its students.
 


[1] Jeannie M. Nuss, “Gloucester OK’s Contraceptives,” The Boston Globe, 9 October 2008, accessed on 21 October 2008, <http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/10/09/gloucester_oks_contraceptives/>
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.

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