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Vote Scheduled on Contraceptives for Culver Students

October 05, 1986|JEFF BURBANK | Times Staff Writer

A committee of parents, students and school officials will decide Wednesday whether a campus health clinic ought to make contraceptives available to students at Culver City High School and Middle School.

The clinic was proposed earlier this year by the UCLA departments of obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics.

Sandy Segal, high school nurse, said the clinic is needed because the parents of some students do not have medical insurance or a family doctor. She also pointed out that some students do not have time to go to a doctor, and Culver City has no free health or birth control clinic.

According to Segal, seven girls in the district became pregnant this year, more than in previous years. She also cited a UCLA survey of 395 Culver City middle-school students this year in which 8% of the girls responding said they had had abortions.

But Linda Price, PTA president and a member of the committee studying the clinic proposal, said some parents do not want contraceptives distributed on campus because they "are concerned . . . that it will increase sexual activity."

Parent Thomas J. Supple, who is on the committee, wrote a letter to school board members saying that UCLA intends "to show that we need a birth control clinic at Culver City High School and not to determine our actual student health needs." He said dispensing contraceptives on campus would amount to a sanctioning of sexual activity.

"Instead of teaching them how, we need to be teaching them it is OK to say no," Supple said.

Price said, however, that Supple and others have overemphasized the birth control aspect. About 90% of the clinic's services will probably focus on such areas as sports medicine, skin care and counseling for stress and eating disorders, she said.

Price said committee members opposed to contraceptives are in the minority and that most of Culver City PTA officers favor their distribution.

Rick Mitchell, a junior at Culver City High School and a member of the committee, said parents are overreacting to the birth control issue.

"The controversy is definitely overblown. There is a very vocal minority that is very strongly opposed to it," Mitchell said.

The committee was created earlier this year by the school board to study the concept of a free health clinic on the campus shared by both the high school and middle school at 4401 Elenda Ave.

Committee members will suggest what services the clinic may offer based on the results of a UCLA survey on the health needs of students from both schools.

The clinic must be approved by the school board, which may consider the committee's recommendation at its Oct. 21 meeting, according to board member Dianne L. Pannone. If approved, the clinic could open next year, Pannone said.

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