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CR school board blocks offer of birth control shot

CAMDEN — The Caesar Rodney School board voted Tuesday against offering the Depo-Provera shot at the Caesar Rodney High School Wellness Center.

Depo-Provera is a birth control method for women; each shot provides protection against pregnancy for up to 14 weeks.

Gloria Shuba, the coordinator at the wellness center, asked the board at their meeting at the John C. Charlton School for permission to make the Depo-Provera shot available.

For two years, the center has offered reproductive health care services, including oral contraceptives, condoms, HIV testing and pregnancy tests.

Ms. Shuba said 23 students take oral contraceptives, but that parents and students have also asked for the shot.

“I think it’s effective for some population of the girls that I deal with. Not all of the population, but some,” she said. “Some of the girls sometimes forget to take the pill. It’s not always the most convenient thing to do.”

With the shot, girls would come in every 12 weeks, Ms. Shuba said; she’d see them on a consistent basis, follow up, educate them and ask questions.

At the meeting, board member Cheryl Precourt raised concerns about the side effects of the shot; research has shown that long-term use can result in bone loss.

Ms. Shuba said that recent studies that she had read showed that the damage was reversible, and that the shot is recommended by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

“There’s a lot of things that go into osteoporosis… It’s not necessarily medication. Sometimes it’s diet, sometimes it’s genetics, sometimes it’s lack of exercise. There’s a lot of things that play into that,” she said.

Board member Melody Heavner worried that parents aren’t involved in their teens’ health care. She said Wednesday that she voted against the shot because she felt like parents weren’t included in the decision.

“I think that if this room was filled, to the max, with parents…and you brought this forward, there would be a huge uproar,” Ms. Heavner said at the meeting.

In order for students to use the Wellness Center, Ms. Shuba said, parents need to sign and turn in a consent form. She said that with each student she talks to, she always asks if the parents are in on the discussion with them.

“I have to say that most of the students have that kind of discussion with their parents,” she said.

Since the shot would be a confidential service, though, if a parent calls with questions Ms. Shuba said that she would first talk to the student.

The board voted 4-1 not to allow the shot.

Kathleen Haynes vote against the motion.

“It’s a service that Bayhealth and Public Health make available to our wellness centers,” she said, adding that students should have all the available options.

Tuesday was also the last board meeting for Ms. Haynes, who retired after 12 years on the school board. Jessica Marelli was elected in May to fill the five-year seat.

Staff writer Eleanor La Prade can be reached at 741-8242 or elaprade@newszap.com. Follow @DSNEleanor on Twitter.