To the editor:
As the coordinator the Missouri Mentoring Partnership Parenting Program, I was alarmed to read a Speak Out comment, "Checking on teens." More alarming than one person's call to challenge school policies on releasing students to obtain birth control is a national study that shows four out of 10 young women will become pregnant before they reach their 20th birthday. The Speak Out caller was assuming that all youth obtain birth control without their parents' knowledge. The caller also insinuated that parents who let their children leave school or use birth control do not care about that child.
Parents and schools assume that someone else will educate their children about sex, diseases and birth control. In reality, youths are getting the majority of their information from other youths.
The point that I do agree with is that "if you think it's not your child, chances are you're wrong." You should talk to your children. You should share your values and morals with them, but you should also accept that youths do not always make the choices that their parents would choose for them.
I think a missed history or science class is a small price to pay. One or two classes can be made up, but an unplanned pregnancy can't be erased.
Many young women drop out of school when they become pregnant. The way I see it, the schools can either let the mother out for a clinic appointment or for maternity leave.
Partnership Parenting Program