To the Editor:
As a health educator at North Clay Middle School, I would like to commend Kandace Brown and Michele Lee.
Kandace brings the character based education classes: Peers Educating Peers to NCMS and Michele Lee, the infant stimulator program, "Baby Think it Over."
As a health teacher at NCMS, it has been my privilege to work with these ladies for a number of years. Our mutual goal is to educate the student population to the consequences tied to teenage pregnancies and sex before marriage. Peers and Baby Think it Over have affected the statistical numbers in Clay County over the years.
Now teenage pregnancies in Clay County are on the rise once more. Part of this increase in numbers may be tied to the decreased educational time in the abstinence program. The program has been decreased to three days and is now limited to the seventh- and eighth-graders instead of the entire middle school and high school population.
Statistically, there is a 60 percent drop out rate of high school girls in Clay County when teen pregnancy is involved. By starting this education at the middle school level, perhaps we can avoid some of these large numbers by the high school years.
Last year, and again this year, my health classes had to wait until the second six-week grading period to get this instruction, thus missing all of these students in these classes. This delay was due to a lack of necessary funding for the program:
* Peers Educating Peers,
* Creating Positive Relationships, and
* Baby stimulators (Baby Think it Over).
These programs have been scientifically and statistically proven to be effective in our school environment. The program affects our students in a positive and safe manner.
It also makes our local community a better place for students to learn and grow.
I am concerned that these excellent programs will not be funded and will eventually be dropped.
Thank you and thanks ladies for the great job.
Health and Physical Education,
Seventh- and eight-grade,
North Clay Middle School