School officials have given the green light to a Portland middle school to offer birth control prescriptions through its student health center.
The plan, offered by city health officials and approved on a 7-2 vote by the Portland School Committee, makes King Middle School the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available to students in grades 6 through 8. There are no national figures on how many middle schools, where most students range in age from 11 to 13, provide such services.
“It’s very rare that middle schools do this,” said Divya Mohan, a spokeswoman for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.
Sarah Thompson, mother of a King eighth-grader, was among the committee members supporting the new policy, even though it made her “uncomfortable.” “I know I’ve done my job as a parent,” Thompson said. “(But there) may be a time when she doesn’t feel comfortable coming to me… (and) not all these kids have a strong parental advocate at home.”
Chairman John Coyne opposed the change, saying the roles of social agencies and public schools have blurred over the years. “At some point there needs to be a clearing of the gray lines.” The other “no” vote Wednesday night came from Ben Meiklejohn, who said the consent form does not clearly define the services being offered.
Opponents cited religious and health objections.
Diane Miller said she felt the plan was against religion and against God. “We are dealing with children,” the former school nurse said. “I am just horrified at the suggestion.”
Michael Graham blasts the school and New England liberalism:
Liberal activists supporting the King Middle proposal claim it’s necessary because some of their students are sexually active. Of course they are – you’re giving them sex aids! What are they supposed to do with birth control? Use it to control weight gain? Trade it for Oxy?
The only reason to give 12-year-olds the pill is because they’re having sex. But sex with a 12-year-old is a felony in Maine, so who are they supposed to have this sex with? Other 12-year-olds?
Three cheers for public education “socialization.”
Related: In Irvington, NY, O is for Oral Sex.