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Voters Keep Contraception Policy in Place at Revere High

Revere, MA
 
In a 3,404–2,695 vote, residents of Revere, Massachusetts defeated a controversial ballot initiative that sought to end Revere High School’s (RHS) newly updated contraception policy.[1] Because the initiative was voted down, students who are enrolled in RHS’s school-based health center will continue to have access to contraception, including condoms, birth control pills, birth control shots, and emergency contraception.[2]
 
The contraception policy was put into practice earlier this year to address increasing rates of sexual activity and teen pregnancy among local teens. In February, the policy was approved by the mayor, superintendent, and the majority of the Revere School Committee.[3]
 
The initiative to end the controversial new policy on birth control was placed on the ballot in September by a group of residents who objected to the policy. A spokeswoman for the group argued, “School is not the place for these types of services to be available.’’[4] She added, “Allowing access to these services in school sends a strong message that sexual activity is a foregone conclusion and here is the stuff you need.”[5]
 
The superintendent of Revere Schools responded to the recent vote, “I’ve renewed my faith in the electorate in their understanding of how important it is to give freedom of choice to parents.”[6] As noted by the superintendent, who called the program a “parent-choice” policy, the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) School-Based Health Center at RHS serves only those students whose parents have signed them up for the program: “It’s for families that are in need, families that see a crisis coming or are in a crisis, and need a solution of [sic] professionals to help them out.”[7]
 
The school-based health center is overseen by doctors and nurses from the MGH, who will operate separate and distinct from the school nurses.[8] If November’s ballot initiative to end the policy had passed, the city would have suspended distribution at the school and formed a commission to study the health risks and benefits of contraception and abstinence.[9] 
 
While RHS’s contraception policy continues to generate some debate, the policy will be included in the school’s handbook next year when the MGH health center begins to make contraceptive services available. Still, the spokeswoman for the group who initiated the ballot question this summer said her group would continue to lobby for a change in the policy.[10] 
 
 


[1] Kathleen Burge and Steven Rosenberg, “Revere Keeps School Contraception Policy: State Voters Decide Contentious Issues,” Boston Globe, 4 November 2009, accessed 8 December 2009, <www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2009/11/04/revere_voters_keep_school_contraception_policy/>.
[2] Seth Daniel, “School Committee Will Await the Voters’ Decision,” Revere Journal–Revere Massachusetts Newspaper, 3 October 2009, accessed 14 December 2009, <www.reverejournal.com/2009/10/03/school-committee-will-await-the-voters-decision/>.
[3] John Laidler, “Parents Fight Birth Control Accessibility at Revere High,” Boston Globe, 20 August 2009, accessed 14 December 2009, <www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2009/08/20/revere_parent_group_fighting_contraceptive_policy_at_high_school/>; Burge and Rosenberg, “Revere Keeps School Contraception Policy.”
[4] Laidler, “Parents Fight Birth Control Accessibility at Revere High.”
[5] Ibid.
[6] Burge and Rosenberg, “Revere Keeps School Contraception Policy.”
[7] Ibid.
[8] Laidler, “Parents Fight Birth Control Accessibility at Revere High.”
[9] Steven Rosenberg, “Birth Control Battle in Revere: Vote Sought to Halt Distribution at School,” Boston Globe, 6 September 2009, accessed 10 September 2009,  <www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2009/09/06/birth_control_battle_in_revere/>.
[10] Burge and Rosenberg, “Revere Keeps School Contraception Policy.”

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