Despite the angst over fuel prices and the presidential race, rumors of a high school pregnancy pact are stealing headlines in America's largest newspapers and prompting more parents to question what public education is teaching their children about sex. During the 2007-08 school year, Joseph Sullivan, the principal of Massachusetts' Gloucester High School (GHS), noticed a serious spike in the number of girls who became pregnant during the school year. In an interview with Time, he admitted that the teen pregnancy rate had quadrupled at GHS, and he suspected that a group of sophomore girls agreed to "get pregnant and raise their babies together.
"While the media is consumed with whether or not such a pact exists, the story raises far more troubling issues about the school's message on sexuality. If these students never struck an agreement, as Gloucester's Mayor Carolyn Kirk insists, we can presume at the very least that these 16-year-old girls thought it was acceptable to be sexually active and become pregnant. And why wouldn't they? GHS's own policy encourages it. The school offers free on-site daycare for teen moms so that students can bring their babies to school. It also teaches "comprehensive" sex education to students in the ninth grade, just in time for high school. If the school is bending over backward to accommodate teen mothers and encouraging the promiscuity that leads to it, these girls would have no choice but to assume that premarital sex and motherhood are acceptable social norms.
Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy said, "This is not a story about sex education." Of course it is! It just happens to be a story that liberals are trying to hide, as it confirms--once again--the failure of comprehensive sex education. Planned Parenthood celebrated when Gov. Deval Patrick (D) refused the federal funds for abstinence programs in Massachusetts schools. Had he accepted the grant and encouraged schools like GHS to use it to teach sexual restraint, the storyline in this storied fishing village might have been different. Instead schools like Gloucester insist on promoting promiscuity over abstinence in direct contradiction of the wishes of 78 percent of parents (as expressed in a 2007 Zogby poll)
Like us, these parents don't understand what's wrong with telling kids to simply say "no." Isn't that the message we give them on other dangerous activities like drug and alcohol use? We tell them not to smoke. And unlike sex education, we don't hand them filters and say "If you're going to light up, smoke safely." Now that public schools are starting to reap what they've sown with the "just do it" mentality, states are scrambling to accommodate kids and their poor decision-making. On teen sex, it's time to stop treating the problem and start preventing it with the only birth control that is 100% effective--abstinence.
Update: read JillStanek's take on the media's spin on this issue at World Net Daily.