TTSD vote allows SBHC to provide birth control options


By Meghan Turley

On Monday, Feb. 26, the TTSD school board voted unanimously to allow the School Based Health Centers to begin offering contraceptives and other birth control methods.


The plan includes offering condoms and the pill to students, along with education on contraceptives, safe sex and consent.The 2017 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey showed nearly 5 percent of Tigard-Tualatin  8th graders and 36 percent of 11th graders have had sexual intercourse, with most reporting they had not used an effective form of contraceptive.


An earlier story, “The Contraceptive Perspective” delved into the history of this health care issue in the district.


Susan Stark Haydon director of community relations for the district presented the proposal for the vote. “What I saw at the board meeting were board members with diverse personal values who worked hard to make a decision that they thought would be the best for students,” Stark Haydon said. “It impressed me how much caring and concern went into making a decision about such a controversial issue and how hard board members worked to come up with some parameters around how contraceptives should be provided that focused on education and safety.”


Stark Haydon also mentioned that she was approached by many health teachers who thought that offering contraceptives along with comprehensive sex education in the school based health center was a good idea. While both school counselors and health teachers agree that while teenage sex is risky behavior and should not promoted, their recommendation was that the board and student based health center should address the reality of teens having sex and offer contraceptives.


Stacy Cross, current CEO of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and formerly the CEO of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette was excited by the news TTSD planned to offer contraceptives. “That is great news!” she said. “[It’s] so wonderful that the focus was on the health and access for teens!”


The addition of offering contraceptives in the SBHC is expected to beneficial to teens. “I think it’s great, honestly,” sophomore Birdie Stark said. “Some people don’t have access to [contraceptives];  it’s nice that the school can provide that for them now”


Tigard-Tualatin, along with Hillsboro, will join Portland Public Schools in allowing the school based health centers to offer this additional health resource to students.