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Sending a double message

In regard to the TeenSMART program I agree that something needs to be done about risky sexual behavior now that STDs are at epidemic proportions. However, it seems like the TeenSMART program sends the predictable double message which says, “Abstinence is best, BUT…”

Factually, contraception does little to protect from some STDs, which are contracted by area-to-area contact. It does little more in preventing pregnancy if not used consistently and correctly. Despite educational efforts, statistics reveal teens are still inconsistent in the proper use of contraceptive. Should we then foster as a “last resort” a false sense of security in contraceptive choices which may fail for reasons just mentioned?

Lastly, I find it disconcerting that our teens would have easy clinical access to birth control, which, depending upon type, could be far more dangerous to their health than a simple aspirin, which requires parental consent.



I commend Supervisors Horne and Bedwell for recognizing that TeenSMART may not be the answer to this problem no matter how much grant money is at stake. Perhaps, instead, we should seek funding for a character-based abstinence program, which helps teens identify and change the fundamental issues and motivations behind their risky sexual behavior.

Deborah Phelps




Penn Valley


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