Everybody has fond memories of middle school.
Making new friends.
Getting involved in activities.
Obtaining your first batch of birth control pills.
Last Wednesday, a committee in Portland, Maine, ensured that this sacred tradition would continue by voting to make prescription birth control available to students at King Middle School, granted they have parental permission to be treated at the school’s health center.
Normally, when you think about cities that struggle with the issue of teenage pregnancy, your first thought probably doesn’t include Portland or any city in Maine for that matter. But maybe the Portland School Committee is onto something here.
Although the national rate of teenage pregnancy has declined in recent years, there is no denying the fact that a percentage of middle school-aged students are sexually active, or thinking about becoming sexually active. Most middle
schools already offer some sort of sex education class. Consider the availability of birth control as another element of the sex education class.
Isn’t education the key to prevention? If so, then why does the fact that birth control is readily available to 11 to 14-year-olds seem to shock so many people?
No parent wants to think about their underage child being sexually active. But if it’s going to happen – and in most circumstances, it’s definitely going to happen – can’t parents take some solace in the fact that their child is knowledgeable
enough to use protection?
Look, nobody’s condoning teenagers being sexually active. Teenagers have a hard enough time operating a car successfully, let alone managing the physical and emotional responsibilities that come along with “making whoopee.” But, as evidenced by the Portland School Committee’s decision, times have changed and everyone must adapt.
And it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Let’s give middle schoolers some credit. They’re not as innocent as we think they are. But they’re not as ignorant as we think they are either. Besides, if the kids are going to shack up to make whoopee, the
least we can do is provide them with the tools they need to protect themselves.