The Baby Birds and Bees

A recent article by Associated Press stated that a certain King Middle School in Portland, Maine decided to make birth control pills available for its students. That’s right, Middle School.
by Thomas A. Flynn, LC | Source:
It seems like the birds and the bees are buzzing at earlier ages these days. At least that is the impression the Portland Maine School Committee holds. A recent article by Associated Press stated that a certain King Middle School in Portland, Maine decided to make birth control pills available for its students. That’s right, Middle School. It was a decision taken by school officials to assure that its health center would be well equipped with all that is necessary for the low percentage of students who are sexually active.

Perhaps it’s not as bad as it sounds. We are consoled knowing that any student who desires to use this health center needs a permission slip signed by their parent or guardian. However this same parent or guardian is not informed when their child requests the pill. Imagine the scenario: little Sally comes home from school one day with various papers handed to her in homeroom. Mom is there to meet her at the bus stop and she sees Sally holding the forms. “What is this, honey?” Mom asks. “It’s just some permission forms I need you to sign,” Sally replies. Mom glances over the sheets: Field trip permission, permission to use the health center, permission to use the school library and so forth. ”How odd, that Sally needs my written permission to use the health center,” mom thinks to herself. “Then again, think of all the things that could happen to my little pumpkin. She might fall and get cut in recess, or maybe she could get sick at lunch time.” What Mom would not sign that form right away? Robert O’Brien, a member of the Portland School Committee says it’s not that simple. Any child requesting birth control pills will first receive extensive counselling from a member of the center. I should mention the fact that this same center has been giving out condoms since 2000 and directing other students to seek help with Planned Parenthood. What sort of counsel will they give to these children?

It’s a fact of life that kids are having sex and we need to help them, right? If a student from King Middle school is found using drugs, can they go to their school health center and seek help for safer drug using? Would a nurse give him or her clean syringes to use or teach them a healthier method? I doubt it. Wouldn’t they instead convince this youngster of the evils of drugs, try to prevent him or her using them and maybe even inform their parents? Some would respond that there is a big difference between sex and drugs. I agree. Let’s try smoking instead. Last time I checked, these students aren’t old enough to purchase cigarettes, let alone smoke them on school grounds. Does this same health center supply nicotine patches for those caught in the bad habit of enjoying a Lucky Strike? Perhaps I don’t want to know the answer to that.

The point I am trying to make is that we are taking for granted that kids are having sex. We are assuming that that’s just the way it is and we should accept it. Does it have to be that way? I don’t think so and I know that millions of parents out there agree with me. Why can’t we have a school health center that teaches children to respect their own bodies and not to treat others as a mere object but a true person? Why can’t we teach them the beauty of abstinence and waiting until they are married in order to give themselves completely to their future spouse? If kids saw the beauty of this virtue, the beauty of marriage and why not, the beauty of sex, they will learn to respect them and value them more. We see this in the example of St. Maria Goretti, a young girl who at the age of 12 was stabbed to death by a man who tried to seduce her. She chose to give up her life before giving up her virginity.

Two quotes in the article are worth mentioning. Michael McCarthy, the principal of King Middle school, said, "I think it makes people nervous to think middle school students are having sex. Frankly, it makes me nervous. But there's a small population out there that needs protection." This was followed up by a quote from a mother whose two children have already gone through King Middle School. She added, "It's much more important that we reach out to these kids and get them the tools they need to stay safe, stay in school and get an education." I am all for kids staying in school and getting an education. What I don’t see is how handing out a pill that poisons human tissue in order to prevent the laws of nature keeps them safe. It sounds more harmful than anything else.

We are not helping children when we give them tools that make immorality safer. Perhaps the birds and the bees are buzzing at younger ages. If so, it’s not a fact to be accepted but corrected.

Brother Thomas A. Flynn, of the Legionaries of Christ, studies for the priesthood in Rome.

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