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I'age 8-A?THE BRUNSWICK BEACC
BY SUSAN USHER
No hurt feelings, no mornings after
and no unwanted pregnancies.
That's the goal of an Atlanta, Ga.,
program designed to teach young
peuplc IwW to say "no" when under
peer pressure to become involved
sexually at an early age.
The teenage pregnancy prevention
program will soon be implemented
within the Brunswick County Health
I Apartment on a trial basis following
action Monday by the Brunswick
County Board of Health. Board
members present unanimously approved
a motion by Bill Rabon to
establish the pilot program.
Health Director Thomas Blum said
the program will be used by staff
members within the department's
family planning clinic.
Member Thomas Dixie of Iceland
voiced initial hesitancy in regard to
nv CITUAN IICUL'D
"There's no way they can classify
it as sex education," Marie Brown, a
school nurse recently nppolntcd to
the Bruaswick County Board of
Health, told fellow health board
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She was talking about a teenage
pregnancy prevention program the
health department will soon launch
on a pilot basis. It's called the "no"
program and it hus been successfully
implemented in the Atlanta public
schools and has also been wellaccepted
by church groups und other
It tenches young people how to sayno
under difficult social clr
pressure to become sexually Involved,
but the skills can also be applied
when youngsters are pressured to
use drugs or alcohol.
Ms. Brown was among a group of
iocai public and scnooi nurses to participate
recently In a workshop
presentation on the program.
I thought it was an excellent ptogram,"
Health board mcmliers view see
the pilot program as a find step.
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the pilot program, but ultimately
supported the move.
He first suggested waiting until the
full board was present since the program
That concern was quickly countered
by other board members who said
they thought the board should not only
implement the program, but promote
it to the public?and to the
board of education for use in tne middle
"It seems to me the board of health
has a responsibility to promote this
program just as it would any program
we feel strongly about or see a
need for," suggested I^ee Aldridge.
Aldridge said that a child would
probably not even know of the program's
availability at the health
department and that if youngsters
were reluctant to participate in a
joint program with parents (the
m Teaches <
They and health department staff
members say they think the program
should be included in the middle
school curriculum of the county
They're hoping the pilot program
<l?no-ote, tho rnmmun'tv interest
needed to get it into the schools.
The nroernm was devrloned hv
Marion Howard, director of Teen
Services Program at Grady
Memorial Hospital and an associate
professor at Emory University.
Variations of the program arc being
field-tested in Atlanta and in
Cleveland, Ohio. At least 100 persons
have been readied as "trainers" in
The "no" program came about
after health educators realized that
with sex education and birth control
programs available in Atlanta the
teenage pregnancy rate had been
reduced significantly (from one of
the higltcst in the state to one of the
lowest), but that it was still unacceptable
E a Luting programs focused on giving
students the factual information
they needed to make their own
choices about sexual activity.
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Atlanta model runs a separate course
for parents), they would be even
mure reluctant to ask a parent to
take them to the department to participate.
"I think we have an obligation to
take it to the school board, to iry 10
sell it to the school board," he continued.
His feelings were echoed by other
board members who also thought the
program worthy of the department's
Chairman John Madison said a
program on abortion would be con- '
troversial, but not one that teaches i
vouncsters to sav no.
This "no" program would be wor- i
thwhile, he added, if just one child i
were helped "It's a step in the right
Idea Will Sell
Joe Stevenson agreed, "I think the |
"The beauty to me of the pro
teaching fifth and sixth grade
sexual encounters, but how t
alcohol?how to say no unde
Something else was obviously need- f
The Atlanta program developed by
Howard offers what students told t
leaiui euucators iney warned ana i
leeded: training in how to say no
without hurting the other person's
The program is based on at least
two premises: 1) It assumes that not
ill youngsters have the reasoning
skills end maturity they need to
nake on appropriate decision about
texual Involvement even when armrd
with facts: and 2) it starts with the
tiven value 'You ought not to be havng
sex at a young age'.
From that value base it gives
students in fifth and sixth grades the
tools they need to say no under peer
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department should make an effort to
sell this program to the school
system and to the public to the extent
it doesn't create an excessive
Later, he added, "I believe if the
tiepai uncut implements this prrvgram
the public- will sell it to the
The school system has been approached,
but so far has not agreed to
launch the program, though health
board members and health department
staff members indicated they
thought the middle schools the most
Blum said he didn't want the
department taking the role of "lead
agency" in promoting the program.
"Our only right is to act as the
board of health," acknowledged
"hairman Madison, noting that the
schools are under the leadershiD of a
relatively new board. "We don't want
i/e To Soy 7s
gram is we're not just
trs how to say no to
o say no to drugs,
r peer pressure to oil
>ressure, yet maintain their selfrsteem.
It does not offer factual informaion
about reproduction, nor does it
liscuss family planning. It concenrates
on building skills which help
oung people deal with social and
rcei pleasures, me program is
argeted to youths age 15 and
"By seventh and eighth grades it's
oo late. They're already sexually acive."
said one health professional in
he audience at the health board
The average age of fertility among
/oung women as of 1983 had dropped
o age 12Vi. according to a report by
loward. He said that according to a
979 study the age of first intercourse
las also dropped. The study inlicated
that 22.5 percent of the
l&-ycar-olds studied hud already had
>f Pilot Pr
to generate a major problem for
As an alternative to the schools,
Blum said staff members had been
discussing ways of incorporating the
program williin the health departmpnt's
family planning clinic, hut
had not planned ti> gn public with it
Two incidents prompted the early
unveiling: questions by a county
commissioner during a recent program
review and a letter to the editor
published in the March 6 edition of
tne aiaie ron rnoi. ine letter trom
Mrs. Gene A. Wallin of the
Brunswick County Right To Life
group contained several major
misstatements of fact regarding the
school system and health department
and their approach to teenage
pregnancies, Blum said, including
allegations that the health departJo'
intercourse, up from 14.7 percent in
Blum said the local health department
has on occasion seen clients as
young as fifth or sixth grade: most
are teenagers. In 1983-84 639 clients of
childbearing age received family
olanning services through the
Nursing Supervisor Ruth Harrington
told the board, "The beauty to
me of the program is we're not just
toonkinn fifth nnr1 -i-th h?...
to say no to sexual encounters, but
how to say no to drugs, alcohol?how
to say no under peer pressure to all
Part Of Clinic
Health Director Thomas Blum said
the department plans to offer the
pilot program through its familyplanning
By federal law the department
must provide young people family
planning services on request, without
their parents' knowledge or consent.
"School nurses encourage parental
contact iirst," he said. ::Bui in most
cases the teenagers coming to the
clinic are beyond that point. They
already have made the decision they
are going to participate."
Family planning methods don't include
abortion aid or abortion
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mcnt offers students aid in obtaining
abortions and abortion counseling,
which it does not do.
That misinformation, he said,
hurts not only those who visit the
family planning clinic, but the health
professionals who serve them.
The department does not pay for
abortions and does not consider abortion
as a family planning method, he
said. Clinic participants are made
aware of alternative for preventing
pregnancy, including abstinence.
Girls coming to the department
who have decided to have an abortion
are referred elsewhere.
A response to the letter approved
hfc tho Imn.J ? - *1
misstatements and offers to discuss
the 'no' program with the school
board or other interested parties.
"I would hope 'no' would be common
ground for all parents," said
counseling, he said. Girls who seek
abortions are referred elsewhere.
The department does offer clients
information on alternatives to
pregnancy, including abstinence.
The "no" program will help get the
message across that not choosing
sexual activity is okay. Blum said
the program will target two groups:
1) those who have had sexual encounters,
with the message "You
don't have to have any more," and 21
those with no previous sexual encounter,
with the message, "You
don't have to have the first one."
Training in the "no" program, he
said, will give the public health staff
a more "behavioral" approach in
working with their young clients, to
"convince kids they can say no and
that it works."
Staff members would also be
available to discuss the program
with community groups on request,
The "no" program approach to
postponing sexual involvement includes
four lMt-hour sessions. Threeart;
given close together and explore
peer and social pressures and ways
of responding to them aggressively.
The fourth is offered several months
later and reinforces the skills taught
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