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Mapping Their Strategy : 1,000 Enemies of San Fernando H.S. Clinic Protest

December 15, 1987|PAMELA MORELAND | Times Staff Writer

Opponents of the San Fernando High School health clinic reappeared in force Monday night armed with a strategy they hope will eventually close it.

About 1,000 people, including scores of teen-agers, marched along Van Nuys Boulevard in Pacoima to demonstrate their displeasure over the clinic that opened earlier this month. Protesters then held a rally in a parking lot of Northeast Valley Health Corp., which operates the clinic.

After the march, opposition leaders said they would continue agitating with more demonstrations and a letter-writing campaign aimed at parents.

Opponents believe that if only a handful of students patronize the facility, foundations underwriting it will withdraw their financial backing when it comes up for review in two years.

"Maybe it's naive to think we can close down a clinic, but we are ornery enough to do it," said Eadie Gieb, a spokeswoman for Parents and Students United in San Fernando Valley.

Second to Open

The San Fernando clinic is the second of three high school clinics opened this year by the Los Angeles Unified School District. There is a clinic at Jordan High School in Watts, and one at Los Angeles High School in the Wilshire area is scheduled to open early next year.

Services offered include physical examinations, immunizations, screening for high blood pressure, treatment for minor medical emergencies and counseling on weight control and drug and alcohol abuse.

But what has inflamed many has been that the clinics counsel students on birth control and dispense contraceptives.

San Fernando's clinic has drawn the most opposition because 85% of the school's enrollment is Latino and predominantly Catholic.

So far, about 200 of San Fernando's 2,600 students have returned signed parental consent forms to the clinic, said Rena Shpegel, clinic director. Clinic personnel have treated about 171 students, she said.

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