Parents in Revere get signatures to force vote on School Committee decision to give kids contraceptives & "morning-after" pills
Issue will be on ballot in November. Arrogance of School Committee members at issue.
Sept 10, 2009
The parents and citizens of Revere are fighting back! They got the signatures.
Earlier this year the Revere School Committee dropped a bombshell on the community. Without any warning, they voted to distribute contraceptives and the "morning after pill" to students in Revere High School. As Kathy Magno, an activist in Revere, told us, this was done without any notice to the community. There were no public hearings. No sub-committee meetings about it. It wasn't even on the agenda that day.
"The could have put it on the cable-TV 'scroll' about the upcoming meeting, but they kept it quiet," she said. "It caught everybody by surprise."
And many people were upset and angry when they found out.
Ignoring normal process
Massachusetts Law appears to mandate that school committees run these ideas by a committee of the town's citizens before implementing them. M.G.L. Ch 69, Section 1L, which deals with health education in schools, says:
Each school committee shall appoint an advisory council consisting of parents, junior and senior high school students, teachers, school counseling professionals, health and home economic educators, health professionals, school administrators, and representatives of community or regional health or social service agencies and representatives of local religious organizations.
And every town we know of (except Revere) has traditionally had one these "advisory councils". Granted, many of them are shams, filled with pro-sex ed activists and Planned Parenthood people, but at least they exist and people know what's happening.
Unfortunately, that is changing. We're starting to see school officials make unilateral decisions, usually in secret, and just impose them without having to go through the bothersome steps of public input. This is a situation - and an attitude by public officials - that's unfortunately becoming more prevalent in Massachusetts and around the country. Their attitude is that they know what's right and there's no reason to let parents get in the way. This goes hand in hand with many schools ignoring the Parental Notification opt-out law.
For example, the Newton School Committee had an elaborate sexuality education "citizen advisory council" in the early 1990s when they began to implement their comprehensive sexuality sexuality programs. But later when the programs got more intense and homosexuality issues were added, the advisory council was simply abandoned. Most parents have no idea what happens in the schools, and the administrators are just fine with that.
Parents and citizens take action
But in Revere, the parents and citizens decided to take action. Kathy Magno and a core group of citizens and parents, including a retired physician and retired schoolteacher, organized a petition drive to put this on the ballot this November. They had about two months to get 1875 signatures.
Dozens of other families joined the effort. By the deadline this week, they reached the goal. The Revere Election Commission told us yesterday that it will definitely be on the November ballot, unless the School Committee repeals it on their own first.
All they're asking for in the ballot question is that the School Committee temporarily suspend the program and create an advisory council to study the risks and benefits of the program and make a recommendation back to the School Committee. They also want some public forums on this to be held.
But the School Committee is resistant, even to that. They want to start it right now. They are adamant about that.
Regarding whether the availability of these contraceptives and morning-after pills are opt-out versus opt-in by parents, it's still not completely clear, Kathy told us. And that's a problem because experience around the state has been that schools often actively try to keep parents out of the process.
The usual suspects involved
As the Boston Globe revealed in a recent news article on this, the usual suspects are in on this. The superintendent of schools is 100% on board. A pro-sex ed "health" person were quoted. Planned Parenthood appears to be in the thick of this, although operating in the background.
Globe article: "Birth control battle in Revere" (9/6/2009)
But also, to back this up they are using findings from the "Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey", which is completely unscientific, asks kids leading questions, and is compiled and promoted by people with a strong interest in the results. We have often challenged school officials, state legislators, and state officials about that survey, and have been ignored.
MassResistance report on Youth Risk Behavior Survey
They have also embraced the dangerous Planned Parenthood philosophies regarding sexuality and children: that by exposing children to sexuality and sexual contraceptive techniques inside the public schools, the situation will get better. In fact, the situation always gets worse - more pregnancies, more diseases, more emotional problems. (The schools mentioned in the Globe article are examples of that.)
Interestingly, as Kathy told us, there is a private "health clinic" for teenagers just three blocks away from the school where they apparently can get these things anyway. But that's not good enough for the School Committee.
Our hats off to Kathy Magno and her group for successfully fighting back!! Now the community will have a chance to talk about this openly, instead of having it pushed on their kids secretly by arrogant school officials. We'll keep you informed.