Dateline Manchester, NH:
The city school board has ordered an investigation into how an after-school program run by the YMCA with the school district ended up taking some middle school students to visit Planned Parenthood.
The vote was taken early Tuesday morning after a marathon board meeting. The board asked the district to investigate how the decision was made, recommend any necessary policy changes and determine whether anyone should be disciplined.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire Right to Life has asked for equal time with the students.
“We request that the same children be allowed to sit with an educator from New Hampshire Right to Life,” Darlene Pawlik, the group’s president, said at the school board meeting Monday night.
The YMCA’s STAY program is for students considered at risk of dropping out of school, abusing drugs or getting into trouble with the law.
A week ago, STAY workers included Planned Parenthood on a tour of several social service agencies in the city, to show the students where they could go for support, recreation and help over the summer. Several anti-abortion protesters outside the clinic spoke to the students as well.
The Planned Parenthood educator who met with the students, Anne Johnson, said she never mentioned abortion. But Pawlik said that’s no reason for denying her group equal time.
“Everybody knows Planned Parenthood performs abortions,” she said. “There were protesters outside with signs saying, ‘Babies killed here.’ There’s no mistaking that (the students) have already been exposed to the issue.”
Schools Superintendent Michael Ludwell said he would need to see a formal, written request from New Hampshire Right to Life before deciding whether a representative should meet with the students, but he questioned whether the seventh and eighth graders should be required to deal with such a sensitive political issue again.
Reason # 99,9999 to homeschool.