ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque Public Schools board member is worried a proposal to rework the wording in a policy on school-based health clinics will drastically change the district's birth-control policy.
Board member David Robbins said he's been looking over the proposed changes for several days now and cannot find any reason to support them.
Today, the policy states "birth control will not be distributed at school sites." The proposed changes would read "birth control shall not be distributed by Albuquerque Public Schools."
"If this change goes through, individuals who work at school-based health clinics may be permitted to distribute condoms, diaphragms," Robbins said. "It no longer prohibits the distribution by non-APS individuals. That is an issue."
According to the APS website there are health clinics at nine schools including three high schools, five middle schools and one elementary school.
Board member Robert Lucero disagrees with Robbins and said the proposal may change a word or two but in no way does it change the way the district feels about handing out contraceptives.
"No way is the employee, APS employee ever going to hand out condoms," Lucero said. The clinics are needed in those schools, he added
"They provide shots to little children," Lucero said. "A lot of people during these tough economic times can't afford health care."
However, Robbins said, if the proposed changes pass and leave any wiggle room for groups, even physicians, to hand out birth control to kids at schools, then he wants the clinics out.
"I do not think it meets the education mission of APS," Robbins said. "We're in the mission of education, not in the mission of enabling any form of behaviors."
Robbins said that by federal law the district cannot restrict the distribution of birth control in federally funded programs unless a school district explicitly bans it. He said he believes that's why the proposed changes have surfaced.
"This issue will come up this year and next year and the year after, and the bottom line is we follow the state and federal mandates," Lucero said.
Lucero said the board is just shortening up the policy.
This is only a proposed change, and the board will revisit the policy in a few weeks.
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