Social Question

amazingme's avatar

Would there be consequences for starting a safe sex campaign at my high school?

Asked by amazingme (1825 points ) September 18th, 2010

It has come to me and my friends attention that there are a lot of pregnant teenagers in my school. Four of my friends (who are all under 18) have now had children this year. And everyday I see at least 5 or 6 girls whom I don’t know that are pregnant.
So my friends and I came up with the idea to start a safe sex campaign.
The only problem is, is that my school is very strict. And in the county where I live, the schools teach abstinence rather than safe sex. Now, I have no problem with teaching abstinence, but that’s not reality. I can’t tell you how many girls at my high school I know that got abortions last year.

So do you think my friends and I would get in trouble if we started this campaign? We want to hand out condoms after school dances like Homecoming and Prom, so that we are not seen as a ‘disruption to the school environment’. However, would we possibly get in trouble?

My school is very strict. Carrying a hat around, not on your head, is seen as a disruption to the learning environment.
We were thinking about ‘testing the waters’ first, by creating shirts promoting safe sex.

Would parents be in an uproar? Would you be in an uproar if schools started giving out condoms?

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70 Answers

Trillian's avatar

Ask your school boad. Get permisson to address the PTO.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Do you go to a public school or a private school?

jrpowell's avatar

I would just leave mystery bags of condoms in the restrooms. See how that goes over and if people don’t freak out expand.

Seek's avatar

I like @johnpowell‘s idea.

I swear those schools weird me out. Seriously. Our school nurse used to hand out boxes of condoms. Like it was friggin Trick or Treat.

muppetish's avatar

I’m not a lawyer, but student rights is an issue that I developed an interest in when I took journalism in high school. The majority of my knowledge lies in freedom of speech, but I did a little bit of digging through ACLU to see what I could find about free-condom campaigns in public schools. Before you make any decisions, I would suggest doing research as well. Contact ACLU and find out whether this would be legal in your state.

From one article: “The ACLU has helped to defend the programs in all three of the reported cases to date. Two courts, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, have rejected the challenges and affirmed the legality of the condom availability programs.”

In that case, it was a program set up by the school, though. If this is only a student-established program, you’ll likely face far more obstacles. Especially since most schools love to find a reason to limit the rights of their students because all kinds of legal battles could spring out as a result if the parents wig out.

So the plan of attack I would personally recommend:

1. Contact the ACLU and find out what rights you have.
2. Contact your school’s newspaper about writing an opinion piece. It’s a good way to test the waters and see what kind of support or opposition you’ll face.
3. Expect to end up funding the campaign yourselves. In order to publish the controversial articles we loved, our newspaper had to be an open-forum publication and self-funded. If the school had funded the program, they could have shut us down at their leisure. If you fund your campaign on your own, you’ll have more control (and responsibility should anything negative follow, I might add.)
4. Don’t mention this was inspired by the pregnancies on your campus. Use the general risk of unsafe sex as your reason for launching the campaign.

If I find anything else, I’ll post it here.

jrpowell's avatar

And if you have a hard time getting condoms let us know. It is really easy to get a ton of them.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@johnpowell Really? Do tell.

jrpowell's avatar

@papayalily :: There are a lot of places such as Planned Parenthood here that will give you bags of them for free. Five people wandering around for the day could gather a lot.

And I bet just telling them why I needed them would result in more then I would want to ship.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I think it’s awesome that you want to do this. However, I would caution that you might need to do it slightly off-campus (across the street, perhaps) because it might interfere with the abstinence-only rules the school has to abide by in order to get some federal funds.

Also, check out Shelby Knox. She took on the school board, religious leaders, and town officials to advocate for comprehensive sex education, and then they made a documentary of it.

amazonstorm's avatar

I don’t have any advice to offer you, but I think that it’s wonderful that you want to do this. You might do better reaching your friends than the school would.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Are your pregnant friends the friends that are helping you with this? Any chance of getting them and the other pregnant girls in on it?

I’d leave the school completely out of it and secretly spread the word all over the school advertising a safe sex rally/march around the property of the school. Call the local tv news and have fun when the school board complains but gets a microphone shoved in their face to explain the strict policies that obviously aren’t working for anyone.

DON’T give the school a chance to shut it down before it begins. Keep your movement secret until it’s big enough that they can’t stop, ignore, or shut it down.

Entrepreneurial endeavors look fantastic on a college application! Go for it then run for student council president! Start a blog with discussion boards and a help desk. Have it up and running before your event, then advertise it during the event so the tv news spreads the word to other girls at other schools.

Have some mechanism that the guys can help out too. Don’t make it all girls stuff, because teen pregnancy takes both a guy and a girl… But I’m sure you knew that already.

NuGoonie23's avatar

Ahhh we currently have over 40 girls at my high school who are pregnant (we are leading in our school district for this). Over the years, a lot of my friends also became pregnant. I believe if you do create this group, in my opinion, you would be doing a great thing. Safe sex can’t prevent everything, but it can possibly prevent some things from happening. Conservative/Strict schools need to wake up and smell the fresh roses of America. Teens are more and more sexually active. This is obvious, so why try to cover it up by dismissing it by whole instead of advocating a safer way of doing it? just doesn’t make sense to me sometimes.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@NuGoonie23 Holy crap. How many students do you have? Public or private?

augustlan's avatar

What a wonderful idea! To be safe about it, I would A) make anonymous flyers about safe sex practices and slip them into lockers or something and/or B) do the whole thing off school property, especially the condom distribution. Best of luck with this, and keep us posted!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Also, one of the biggest things you can do is just correct those around you. Hear a bunch of friends joking and one mentions how you can’t get pregnant if you do it standing up or the woman’s on top or any of the other urban myths? Correct them. Hear kids talking about all the oral or anal sex their having, while maintaining their virginity? Let them know they’re still at risk for STDs.

And @augustlan is right (as always) – keep us posted! Let us know what works, what doesn’t, etc.

muppetish's avatar

To riff off @augustlan‘s suggestion, I think an underground Post-It note campaign would be awesome. Leave notes that have facts written on them (statistics, subversions of urban myths, etc.) and links to websites where they can learn more information.

NuGoonie23's avatar

@papayalily Our school has 2,500 students from 9th-12th & it’s a public school in Texas.

Kraigmo's avatar

There are Stupid Inbred areas of the nation where there’d be an uproar, and then there’s the coastal areas, where there wouldn’t be. Legally, you have every right to do what you want regarding this. But locally as you are aware, you may create quite an uproar. That isn’t bad. But it’s something you have to be prepared for. You don’t have the legal right to hand out condoms if the school doesn’t want you to at an extracurricular event. (They can say you are violating the rules of the event, and thus trespassing… but you could hand out condoms on public property just outside the event however).

No offense to my landlocked brothers n sisters

iamthemob's avatar

I have to thank @papayalily for mentioning Shelby Knox – the documentary telling her story is The Education of Shelby Knox – A Documentary of Courage and Grit. It’s not the most encouraging about the practical ability to get programs going in areas where there is resistance…but it shouldn’t discourage you if you want to try.

What high school administrations use to keep students in line when they actually attempt some form of social change is, sad to say, fear. Realize that the heads of your high school may not be small-minded themselves, but they are subject to pressures from both government boards directly, and your parents indirectly. And if parents get upset about you trying to teach their kids something they find immoral, the school will very well buckle under that pressure.

However, DON’T LISTEN if at all possible. What they RELY on you thinking is that they actually have some real, permanent DIRECT effect on your life. @RealEyesRealizeRealLies brings up a great point – this will look great on your college application. That, of course, is not the reason to do it. What it tells you, however, is that threats regarding your future (scholastically and professionally, at least) may generally be empty. @Kraigmo brings up the important other side – the effect that they have on your life may be INDIRECT, through the pressure they can exert socially and, potentially, economically. This can be serious and even devastating.

What you need to research more than the logistical issues (the how of the program) are your support issues (who will be there for you). Shelby Knox had an amazing support mechanism in her family. How much have you addressed what you are planning with your parents? How will your siblings react? This may be the most important thing to consider – because if you’re worried about the community reaction, your parents definitely will be. @muppetish‘s suggesting of getting in touch with the ACLU is great, but you may want to do some research on your state bar association’s civil rights and pro bono support organizations, as well as similar programs in state or local law schools. These are, at least nominally, non-partisan organizations (if you need links and don’t want to reveal more publicly, feel free to PM). If you come to your parents with these resources, they might be more willing to move forward with you. Then there’s you – in the end, how much trouble are you willing to go through? Then, as mentioned, there are your friends – even if you don’t mention them initially, if this breaks publicly, they may get pulled into it…would they be ready for that? How will that make you feel?

What you suggest is so important. What I want to emphasize is that (1) the pressures you might be concerned with from the school are the ones the school might want to distract you with – the real pressure may be more social and economic, affecting your friends and family, so try to be on the same page, (2) your support mechanisms you’ll need most may be the emotional ones rather than the logistical ones, and (3) the logistical support you can get is probably much more expansive than you think, and more readily available (especially legally) than you might be ready to believe.

JLeslie's avatar

@Kraigmo you are so east coast west coast minded you forgot Alabama, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, and Louisana have coastline. Lol.

@amazingme I read the thread, so I hope I did not miss this question I am about to ask: do, or would your parents supportive of this idea? Do they support teaching safe sex and making condoms available? Even if they don’t I am inclined to say still go forward with some sort of plan, but if they are supportive at least then if you get in so e trouble with the school you will have some adult back up. Do you know why the girls are getting pregnant? Are they ignorant about birth control, or did they want to have a baby? Also, do the boys realize they are financially legally attached to the babies until the baby is 18 by law? Meaning, they will be giving a percentage of their income away from the day they get a job, and they can go to jail if they don’t pay. Plus, most states give very few custody rights to the father if the parents are not married when the baby is born.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie you totally missed it. I asked about that right above you. :-)

JLeslie's avatar

I figured someone had to have asked.

LostInParadise's avatar

Some very thoughtful advice here. If I may summarize:
1. Speak with family and friends
2. Do some initial planning and cost estimating
3. You can pass out anonymous fliers in school, but plan to operate off school grounds
4. Expect backlash

The only thing that I have to add is that it may be worthwhile to consult your local newspaper. It does not matter if they support you or not. All publicity is good publicity.

JLeslie's avatar

Another movie Pregnancy Pact might be a helpful movie.

As a side note, I made a little fun of @Kraigmo but he has a point. The most important thing is keep yourself from getting pregnant or sick and go to a large university away from where you live.

krose1223's avatar

This is such a great idea! I think peers are more likely to have an impact on teens than anything else. I definitely think you should prepare yourself for a battle, and at least let your parents know so they are prepared to come pick you up if you get sent home or something stupid. Get as much adult support as you can, because you might come across somebody who knows somebody who can get you legal help. If your school does make a stink about it, I think if you had a lot of parents support as well as students the school would just have to suck it up. Maybe spread the idea and have as many students as possible get their parents in on it. Have their parents friends get in on it! Get the media too, I bet they would do it in a heartbeat! Maybe there are even some teachers that want this to happen. Build an army basically. :) Everything everyone mentioned up there seems like a great idea! I wish someone would have done this at my highschool. I believe my county was top 5 highest teen pregnancy rate in the state of Texas… and top 10 or 15 in the nation! Unfortunately, I was part of those statistics.

JLeslie's avatar

@krose1223 did you not know about birth control? Was it hard to get? Were the boys unwilling to use condoms? Did you think it might be cool to have a baby? Did you just not give much thought to it, didn’t believe it would happen to you? I am only curious because I think the best way to conquer teen pregnancy is to really understand why it is happening.

iamthemob's avatar

ALSO IMPORTANT IN THIS – We MUST remember that often in areas where there is an abstinence focus without education on safe sexual practices, kids will engage in unsafe practices other than vaginal sex because “it’s not sex.” As a compliment to potential increase in teen pregnancy, this leads to a much MORE significant increase in the spread of disease.

@amazingme – is this something that is being considered as part of your program too?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Crucial to your campaign better be a way to hold the males accountable. I had no idea that teen pregnancy was this out of control. I’m absolutely shocked.

”...over 40 girls…” @NuGoonie23? Really? That’s an epidemic! If it was Swine Flu, or AIDS, or Drop Out rates, it would be a tragic epidemic and the community would be in an uproar.

If you can’t get the guys to work with you (all you need is a few to take responsibility and the others will follow), but if you can’t, then plaster photos of these little assholes all over the school with a special “Beware of Dog!” graphic around their picture. Brand them as Dogs and see what affect that has on the number of gloveless loveless baby makers out there.

amazingme's avatar

@iamthemob Sorry it took me a while to get back to you, but yes! I actually don’t know why I didn’t mention STD/AIDS.
And at @muppetish I LOVE the idea about the post-it notes.

My friends who are apart of this have talked to their parents about it and they are completely fine and supportive of it. However, I’ve never talked to my parents about anything regarding sex at all. Yep, I am one of those kids, who has never had the sex talk. But, I know that my older sister and my brothers are supportive of me (significant to me because they are 17, 15, and 9 years older than me). So I am not sure how to go about and talking to my parents about this.

We are really going to start going public about it in October because it will be AIDS awareness month.

And I will absolutely contact the ACLU to get more information. I know I already have my English teacher’s support. She was the first person we asked about it.

Our slogan is: “If you must, use something you can trust!”
My friend came up with that one.
I wanted to use “A condom is cheaper than (insert consequence of unsafe sex)”.

Seek's avatar

If your siblings are a whole “person who can legally consent to sex” older than you, just talk to them. They’ll know how to field it. Something like “Did you know there are 40 pregnant girls in my school? My friends and I think that’s crazy and we want to get the word out that hey, if you’re gonna have sex, at least be smart about it. What do you think?”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Your idea and efforts are to be applauded. In addition to what has already been suggested, here is another. If it could be arranged, hearing from a panel of experts could be beneficial. A doctor who has experience in dealing with teen pregnancies, a doctor who can speak to STDs, people who suffer from STDs/AIDs, people (both male and female) who became parents in their teens. Allow for an open forum so that questions can be asked.

People are much more likely to buy in to a message from those that have experienced the end results than those that have never been there.

JLeslie's avatar

I tend to think shame regarding having a baby is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. I know that sounds awful, and I certainly feel that anyone can make a mistake, or have an accident, and I think once a young woman decides to go ahead with a pregnancy the community, family, and friends should rally around to give the young parents and the new baby as much of a chance at a normal life and meeting their goals as possible. The reason I talk about the shame, is because what made me careful about getting pregnant as a teen was my family simply wouldn’t have it. I was not allowed to have a baby. It would have shown irresponsibility and was completely unacceptable. I also was able to tell my mom I needed birth control. I don’t think there is any way the average teen can conceive of how hard it is to raise a child, let alone an infant. Maybe I am wrong. This is why I am so curious to know why teens get pregnant, to make sure we are really telling them the things that will deter them

I will give you an example. Back when I was in school we were taught and knew smoking was bad for you. We saw how it turned your lungs black and could give you cancer. But when smoking seemed to really diminish in our country from my subjective point of view, is when it was not cool anymore. When people basically became shunned from restaurants and friends for smoking. So, I wonder now that girls are not hidden away, and there is this Christian message out there of pro-life and choosing life is to be celebrated (which I worry in some odd way possibly translates in a teens mind to I will get positive attention because everyone loves a baby) if teen pregnancy has increased? Increased from the days of shame?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It takes courage to express those thoughts in today’s world @JLeslie. I know what you mean, but the era of shame has come to an end. The media has ended all possibilities that fear of shame will affect anyone in a positive manner. It would only bring more trouble upon an already bad situation.

Let’s move beyond shame and forward to education and self respect.

iamthemob's avatar

I’m with @RealEyesRealizeRealLies on this, @JLeslie.

You bring up an interesting point, though, when you say that smoking “seemed” to diminish when it became less cool to do so. The danger with a “seeming” drop is that it creates a perception of decline without the necessity of an actual decline. Then people stop talking about the problem, the kids who fall victims feel like they’re all alone, and no one can learn from their example. The visibility of teen mothers and demonstrated difficulty in having to go through pregnancy, give birth, and perhaps even raise a child seems a much better deterrent. Knowing that Becky can’t come out because she got knocked up and know has to rest after her c-section that was required because her pelvis wasn’t developed enough to properly birth her daughter may make her friends more likely to be careful about their sexual choices than if they were told “she is staying with her grandmother upstate.”

As a note, teen pregnancy rates have been in decline during much of the 90s and through the 2000s, and recently have been at their lowest rates in 30 or so years. This is during a time when it “seemed” like there were more of them. The most persistent decline has been in black women in many cases…a group which often “seems” to be the source of the problem, undeservedly.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’m going to backtrack a moment though @JLeslie. Shame can be a powerful tool, but it can also backfire. We live in an era where it’s cool to be crummy, “I’m a looser baby, so why don’t you kill me?” Society almost begs for dirty laundry from the Inquirer and Gerry Springer. It’s a different world.

HOWEVER

Shame should and could produce a positive affect upon those who refuse to face the consequences of their actions. This is the basis for my earlier suggestion for the young males that don’t take responsibility to be the subject of wanted posters and labeled Beware of Dog!!! campaign. Those young men should suffer right along with the young girls they’ve impregnated.

Make Hero’s out of those who abstain, and those who accept responsibility. Those that don’t should be Villanized and publicly flogged… the males that is.

JLeslie's avatar

Let me see if I can clarify a litle what I meant. I am not for returning to the days of shipping a girl away to the nuns or her grandmothers house in another state. When I said the smoking numbers seemingly went down, it is because I don’t know exactly when the numbers did go down, I don’t have the hard facts on that. The statistics given by @iamthemob are interesting, do we blame that on sex ed? I thought a lot of schools went to abstinence only during the Bush years?

Also, about the shame, right now the abstinence talk seems to be focusing on shame related to having sex, and not on getting pregnant and having a baby.

No matter what I am 100% behind sex ed that includes instruction about birth control and STD’s, giving out condoms, telling teens what pregnancy and delivery are really like, showing the films, all of that.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This is an article of a program about introducing teens about the reality of being a parent. It is expensive, but it might be worth looking into. It’s a lot cheaper than having a child.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie

I think we all appreciate you clarifying your points. I definitely read your intentions as being all about education, letting kids know about what they should do during sex to be safe, etc. I also didn’t think you necessarily wanted to return to the days of shipping poor young girls away.

However, I think that when we talk about shame, that’s the result that could occur. And I think that’s where we might be missing each other – I think it’s mostly semantics. I see shame as inducing fear about doing something wrong, which makes people less likely to expose their mistakes. I think what you’re talking about is more akin to disappointment – teaching kids about their responsibility so they know what’s right and don’t want to be a disappointment. That makes sense to me – that’s how my parents went, and I never felt like I couldn’t talk to them if I was in trouble, and always tried to make sure I did the right thing so I wouldn’t have to.

I’m all about letting kids know that when they make a mistake, they may have had the best of intentions, but they still did something wrong. If what you’re talking about is more along those lines, and less along the lines of making them feel like if they do something wrong, it’s because their is something wrong with THEM…we might disagree.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob Disappointment. Yes, that is a much better word. Would you agree that the abstinence only people are focused on dissapointment related to having sex, rather than on having a baby?

iamthemob's avatar

@amazingme – please step in if you feel this is getting too off-topic and no longer helpful

@JLeslie – unfortunately, I actually feel like abstinence programs are more associated with shame than disappointment, but I do think like you that it’s directed at sex rather than pregnancy.

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, I don’t want to go off topic really. I just hope that if she is going to put herself on the line and stir things up, that it is going to be effective in actually preventing pregnancies and STD’s.

krose1223's avatar

@JLeslie Ask away I agree! I was actually on birth control starting my freshman year because I frequently got ovarian cysts. At the time I got pregnant I had stopped taking birth control just because I was curious if I still got cysts and at the time I wasn’t having sex. My senior year I met a guy and wasn’t planning on having sex right away, but he was more pushy than the two guys I had been with before, and I didn’t know how to handle it. I gave in and was stupid and didn’t use a condom. Like you said I didn’t think it would happen to me, and I always thought it took months of being off birth control to be able to get pregnant. I got pregnant the first time we had sex, and that was using the “pull and pray” method. I was supposed to start birth control after my next period, but that next period never came.
I definitely did not think it was cool and at the time I was filling out applications to study abroad so no, I did no want it to happen.
If it weren’t for my medical reason of needing birth control it would have definitely been hard to get on birth control, and no one ever really talked to me about condoms. There was no adult in my life that knew I was having sex and while the blame can only go to myself, I think having someone there to guide me would have made a difference. I think if I was given condoms I would have used them. I think if sex wasn’t such a taboo subject a lot of teen pregnancies could have been prevented at my highschool. I definitely think if I saw some of my peers promoting safe sex I would have that THAT was cool and I would have joined it. It would have opened up my eyes and it would have been nice to find adults to talk to, which is why I think you should get some adults in on it.

Maybe you should find some teens that have had kids and talk to them… You might get some that are really touchy on the subject but I am sure there are a lot like me who hate seeing it happen. Luckily I turned out to be the better half of the statistics, I got my diploma and I am slowly but surely going to college. I didn’t stay with the dad, he turned out to be a coke head drunk… I am married to a wonderful man now though.

I don’t think a lot of teens realize how much your life changes when you have a baby. I knew plenty of girls that were happy they got pregnant and thought it was going to be fun having a little baby to love and take care of. It was hard as hell, and I had to mourn the life I gave up to be a mom. It has taken therapy for me to be able to allow myself to do that, because for the longest time I was just like “Well it’s my fault I got pregnant so I am not allowed to have any regrets or be sad.” The truth is I lost myself when it happened, and it’s no different than losing a loved one. I don’t think girls see that… They just imagine this fairy tale ending but that’s not how it is at all. I don’t think I know very many girls that stayed with the father, and it usually ended up being a very ugly relationship.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@JLeslie Shame doesn’t work, as a general rule. If shame worked, everyone in America would be slim and fit because of all the shame surrounding being fat and lazy. Also, during abstinence-only (which promotes shame around having sex AND having babies) the numbers of teen pregnancies started to rise again, after having declined steadily for years under more comprehensive education.

Personally, I didn’t have sex because I knew the risks and understood that I wasn’t ready, emotionally or otherwise, until I was old enough to vote. I did, however, acquire a cutting addiction, but didn’t feel I could talk to anyone about it because they would be ashamed and disappointed.

krose1223's avatar

I just went through and read everything else after my previous answer…

It’s 2010 and I really don’t think having sex is a big deal to people anymore. I hate thinking about how young I was when I lost my virginity (13) and it breaks my heart to know that it happens every day. I don’t think putting a guilt trip on sexually active teenagers will help at all… That will only make it worse. That’s why I never told my mom or any adult I was having sex, is because I knew they would get mad and preach to me. I probably would have been locked up. I was going to have sex regardless of what people thought because I had my own standards that I was living by, so it didn’t really matter if my mom thought it was wrong. I think adults just need to accept the fact that kids are having sex and they need to be supportive and constructive. I think programs need to cover everything but the shame, guilt, and all that bull crap. Kids are going to have sex and it doesn’t matter what heros you create out of abstinate people. Like I said, I hate thinking about young kids having sex but I think that part might be up to parents being open with their children… As far as sex education in schools I don’t think it is their place to talk about morality, and I don’t think they have a right to tell kids they are being irresponsible. I have lots of responsible sex now and it’s not just because I am married. I don’t think there is anything irresponsible about having sex unless you are dumb like I was and don’t do everything in your power to prevent pregnancy and STD’s. Preaching to kids isn’t really going to get anywhere, unless they have already grown up in a religious family and actually think their souls are in danger if they don’t wait for marriage. But that might not even matter because I was raised mormon and look what happened to me!

JLeslie's avatar

I did not have a mom who made sex taboo. Again, what I was not allowed to do was have a baby. If I had become pregnant she would have been dragging me to the abortion line. The idea of an abortion was very unappealing to me, so when I became sexually active I told her and she helped me get birth control (this was before AIDS, so the majority of the concern was for pregnancy, and I was in a long term relationship, so I did not think I needed to worry about STD’s. I would call that naive and a mistake now, but we are talking about pregnancy here anyway). So I had it in my family that it was unacceptable and disappointing to get pregnant, but not so much having sex.

@krose1223 thanks for sharing your story. So, it seems to me what is most important is to have an adult to go to if you have questions or need help. I still kind of think teens, no matter what is told to them won’t get how hard it is to have a kid, the sacrifices involved. Adults don’t even understand it.

Now I am back to making sure the boys get it also. The responsibility they will have if they get a girl pregnant. You said the boy who got you pregnant was kind of more pushy and you were not sure how to handle it. I think that happens all of the time. I think the boy has to be the one to buy into the whole contraception thing almost more than the girl, because even if the girl has a voice in the back of her head telling her what she should be doing, she might just go along with what he wants. What do you think?

@amazing me will prom be at a hotel or separate location? Maybe you can put condoms in the bathrooms? Tampons, condoms, hair spray, etc.

amazingme's avatar

Once again, sorry it took me a while to get back, I had stuff to do.
You guys have amazing opinions, so thank you. Tomorrow when I get to school, I am going to ask some of my friends, who have kids now what it is like to be a teenage mom.

I have a question of how to tell my parents that I am going to do this? They’re open parents and all, but very unpredictable. They were born in the 50’s and raised in the 60’s, so they obviously have totally different views than some of my friends’ parents that were raised in a totally different generation. But we all have things we disagree on. (Some of my family have extremely conservative views on things while others are more liberal) I’ve never been really able to talk to my parents much about anything. I feel like if I screw up or if I try to bring up certain topics, like this, that they will think badly of me…But I know that’s not the case. I’m just afraid of what they’ll think. So how can I go about getting my parents’ support on this?

I always have to remember that teenagers will likely do what they’re told not to do. In other words, if they’re told to abstain, they won’t.
I feel that boys and girls should equally have contraception if they’re sexually active. Sometimes you gotta save yourself.

@JLeslie That’s brilliant! We always have free hair spray and tampons and other saviors in the bathrooms at prom. I am definitely going to try to get some condoms in there.

iamthemob's avatar

@amazingme

You know how to relate to your parents best – so any advice needs to be taken with that in mind. I think that most of us, by the way, are kids that STILL don’t talk to their parents about sex. (It really, really does not get less gross).

Think about watching the documentary with them. You watch it first, of course, and see if that will be helpful.

I wouldn’t be afraid, also, to tell them that you don’t know if they ask you about something you hadn’t thought of. Just admit that – and talk through with them if they have answers, etc.

krose1223's avatar

@JLeslie I think you got it spot on. I think girls, especially insecure teenage girls, are a little too wishy washy to always use their brains. I would say most teenage boys don’t think with their brainsso making condom and birth control usage a popular and cool thing to do might help. It needs to be a “no brainer” thing to teens. It should be automatic. Putting on a condom should be like putting on a parachute before you jump off a plane. Teens need to see it as an obvious thing to do.
I don’t know about for every teenager, but I think for me personally having an adult to talk to would have helped me. I was the baby in the family and looked up to all of my siblings, so if they would have told me to use a condom I would have listened. Actually, come to think of it my oldest sister did have that talk with me… I really took it to heart but it was a couple years down the road when I got pregnant so it’s impact had worn off… She talked to me at a time when I wasn’t having sex, but maybe if I had her around when I met this guy and talked to her about it, she might have even saved me from ever having sex with him!! I should have known he wasn’t a good guy the way he pushed sex… But I was a little too insecure at that age to stand up for myself.

@amazingme – I know talking to your parents can be a scary and uncomfortable thing… But even if they don’t react right at first, I think if they are at least a tiny bit rational they will be proud of you. This is a huge thing! If any of my kids ever started something like this I would brag about them to everyone I could. You are a smart girl, and that might have something to do with them. So maybe start off by buttering them up before you tell them… Just be like “Because of you guys I am one of the more enlightened teenagers at my school. You taught me how to use my head and not all kids are as lucky as I am….” Then tell them the number of teenage pregnancies at your school if they don’t already know. Tell them your concern. Tell them your dream to make a difference. I don’t think any parent could get mad at any of these things, they probably won’t feel anything but pride.

JLeslie's avatar

@amazingme I agree that only you really know your parents, so what we say needs to be filtered through your reality. What I really want to say about how your prance react to things, is the majority of loving open parents, when they react to come thing negatively or seem angry by an idea you might have or a behavior, typically to the child it feels like anger, but in the mind of the parent it is more of a fear. They don’t want you to do something that could cause you harm, so they use language and maybe even their temper to dissuade you from an action. As children, we see this as parents being strict, or having a lot of rules, or angry with us, but it is not really exactly anger. Not sure I am explaining it well. Of course there are some parents who are angry, horrible, close minded people, but it does not sound like your are like that, and from what you have written you sound like a very intelligent, pensive young lady. I would suggest telling them your concerns about your friends and the pregnancy rate at school, and that you feel motivated to help do so ethnic about it. Maybe ask them what ideas they might have. Include them in on the brainstorming maybe?

My parents were born in the 1940’s they were very liberal, but I think my moms reaction would have been for me to not get involved, and I think my dad would have been proud of my initiative, and maybe talked it throughout with me. I think he would have suggested a more political route of talking with school administrators. Possibly, you might have to do it covertly, but it could cause you more trouble in the end. A news article sounds like a great idea to me the more I think about it. Talking about the statistics and the general controversy in America of abstinence only vs a more informative sex education. At least it will raise awareness and some parent or teacher will get pissed about the article which will get the conversation going.

Personally, I was appalled to find out that my friends who went to Catholic school, no sex ed at all, did not even learn about their bodies. Sex ed is not only Bout sex, but about our sex organs. In my high school it was a week in our biology class, it made perfect sense. I learned how my cycle worked, saw a film of a woman giving brith, how not to get pregnant and how to get pregnant. My Catholic friends had no idea the most fertile part of their month when they wanted to get pregnant, all completely a mystery.

bri1217's avatar

Thanks everyone! I am one of the people organizing this also. I can’t even say how much this will all help. As you know our school is amazingly strict and any legal help that we can get is very helpful. If you are in highschool or know high school kids please spread this around. It is a big issue in schools and people die because they haven’t been taught how to protect themselves. Thank you soooooo much!

Seek's avatar

Kinda tangent-y, but kind of on-topic…

All through High School, I wanted to make t-shirts to hand around: “I went to school name Junior Prom and all I got was this lousy teen pregnancy”

If I had been more rich or less anti-social, I totally would have done that. I’m kind of sad I don’t have one now. * Sigh * A t-shirt, not a teen pregnancy.

JLeslie's avatar

I am going to learn how to turn off the self correcting spelling thingy on this iPad, sorry for so many typos.

amazingme's avatar

@bri1217 Brianna! Yay! You joined!

@Seek_Kolinahr Hmm…do you mind if I take your idea but put homecoming? :]

@JLeslie and @krose1223 Thanksfor your reassurance! I will definitely bring up the topic now tomorrow on the ride to the gym and at the dinner table. :D

Seek's avatar

@amazingme Please do! And send me a picture. I’ll live vicariously through you. ^_^

amazingme's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I will do then!!! :D

NuGoonie23's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Dude. I was astonished myself! I never thought we had that many, but I just recently went to an open mic night for this club called Students Against Destructive Decisions for extra credit & that’s when I heard this. I was like 40? Really? Smh don’t get me wrong I believe a baby is a blessing, but I also believe a baby can seriously interfere with a teen’s future goals. Even at our school they try to have safe sex campaign things for the whole school like once a year, but it’s usually taken as a joke.

Kraigmo's avatar

@JLeslie, you are so right about that :) Thanks for snapping me outta my trance of stupidity.

krose1223's avatar

I am very curious how her talk went with her parents.

augustlan's avatar

Me, too. Fingers crossed!

amazingme's avatar

@krose1223 and @augustlan They told me I could and and are very supportive. I told my mom in the car, “Oh, my friends and I are starting a sex safe campaign at school”. Her reply was, “Good, there are way too many pregnant girls at your school”. And then she told me she was proud of me for trying to make a difference. :]

iamthemob's avatar

@amazingme

That’s fantastic! Try to keep your parents included as things go forward, good and bad. You don’t want to surprise them, and you won’t have to explain how you made the choices you did if something happens.

augustlan's avatar

Awesome! What a great beginning. :D

Seek's avatar

Yay, @amazingme – you truly are amazing. Keep us updated on your progress!

amazingme's avatar

Thanks!!! I will keep everyone updated! :D

JLeslie's avatar

How wonderful! Thanks for telling us. Good luck with your campaign. Let us know how it goes.

amazingme's avatar

I have an update! :D
My friends and I paired up with a group at school that does presentations about things teenagers go through(It’s a student group that covers topics like bullying, suicide, pregnancies ect.). We then put on a ‘Baby Mama Drama’ after school thing with teenage parents and had discussions of about the hardships and what-not. About 260 people showed up. I’ve began to let my friends really take the reigns because I have been really stressed lately (school, job, college apps, cello, worrying), but I am still part of it.

We ended up not giving out condoms after homecoming because we couldn’t get the condoms in time.

Thought you’d like an update!

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks for letting us know. Quite an accomplishment!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Well done! Thanks for the update. :)

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