Monday, May 2, 2011

Five School Strategies to Prevent Unplanned Pregnancies

But, there is more that schools need to do beyond sex education. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, disengagement, failure and dropping out of school are principal predictors of teen pregnancy.

The Campaign, along with the US Dept of Health and Human Services suggests the following five strategies in their manual, Get Organized: A Guide to Preventing Teen Pregnancy, that schools can engaged in to decrease unplanned pregnancies:

Promoting educational success and providing an enhanced sense that life holds positive options
Schools and communities must formulate powerful strategies for those young people who live on the margins, who are unsuccessful in school, who do not have nurturing families, and who live in disadvantaged communities. These very high-risk young people must be convinced that delaying parenthood will have benefits, and that not having a baby will improve their chances in life. (p. 78)

Helping youth create and maintain strong connections to parents and other adults
Some parents have great difficulty communicating with their own children, not just about sex, but about many issues. School personnel, such as teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, school nurses, and other support staff, can play a significant role in helping to fill this gap (p. 80)

Providing knowledge, reinforcing positive social norms, and enhancing social skills through various types of abstinence or sex education
Young people need the knowledge and skills to make responsible decisions about whether and when to initiate sex, with whom, and under what circumstances. Schools are one of the places where they can receive this information and guidance, supplementing what parents, faith communities, and others teach.

Offering contraceptive services (either in school or nearby) or making referrals for them
Some schools have chosen to provide direct access to contraception to prevent early pregnancy and STDs. Traditionally, schools are not expected to provide reproductive health care to teenagers, and most school systems do not (p.68)

Carrying out multiple approaches through school/community partnerships
Recognition is growing within schools and community agencies that partnerships that include schools can go even farther to strengthen initiatives to help children and families. (p. 87)

What type of program could you initiate the supports one of these strategies?

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