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Parents Know Best

August 26, 1993

Not since former California Supt. of Schools Bill Honig referred to parents as a "special interest group" have I been so concerned about the perception of school boards and some administrators of parents as "meddlesome."

Any disagreement about the proposed sex/contraception education is viewed as the opinion of the "outspoken few." Recent news articles tell us that in Simi Valley, a committee has been formed comprised of teachers, administrators, school nurses and community members, but that their intent is not to discuss "if" but "how" the curriculum is to be delivered.

Most teen pregnancies are not the result of lack of contraceptive knowledge or access. Many girls get pregnant due to low self-esteem, an inability to say no. As a recent article in The L.A. Times reported, a young girl tells how there is so much information on how to say yes and what to use (contraceptives), but nothing on how to say no.

The bottom line is that I am just as concerned as any parent about teen pregnancy, but I think we need to look at the research already done or in process and honestly choose a program that will help our children. Maybe it's not contraceptives, but programs to build self-esteem. Something to give our girls the confidence to say no and to understand their responsibility for their decision--whatever it may be.

Spend the money on increasing school nurses, counselors, teachers, custodians, et al, to benefit the majority of students. Remember that our teen pregnancy rate is less than 10%, which indicates that 90% are not teen parents. Let the parents continue to be responsible for teaching their children what they wish to about contraceptives.

JACQUIE RICHARDSON

Simi Valley

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