A new poll has found that 53 percent of New York City parents oppose the controversial new CATCH program recently instated in 13 NYC public schools. CATCH, which stands for Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare, is a pilot program established by the city’s Department of Education (DOE) and aimed at curtailing teen pregnancy by making emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B, available to students without parental consent. Public schools already have free condoms available to students.
“High school students are very sexually active and getting pregnant so we don’t have that luxury to think that they are too young to be engaged in conversations about contraception and sexual education,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has stated.
However, the poll, commissioned by the Chiaroscuro Foundation and conducted by Smith Johnson Research, has found that a majority of NYC parents are not on board with the new measure. “This kind of social experiment has no place in the education of our children,” said State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. “NYC parents agree that the DOE is out of bounds on this issue.”
The Chiaroscuro Foundation has released the entire poll, including the cross-tabs for the sample of 600 New Yorkers surveyed and the cross-tabs for the oversampled under-55 demographic, which totaled 400 of the 600 people polled. Greg Pfundstein, executive director of the foundation, states, “There should be no question about the soundness of the methodology.”
Support for abstinence education programs with focus on teaching healthy relationship skills was especially high. Seventy-five percent of all respondents expressed support for such a program and 83 percent of African American respondents said they would support that potential program. Additionally, 71 percent of all respondents and 73 percent of African Americans respondents expressed support for an abstinence program that teaches the facts about contraception while promoting delaying sex as the best choice for teenagers.
Already, the poll has come under attack in a post from the Gawker-owned blog, Jezebel. The article dismisses the legitimate concerns of parents in order to focus on directing snarky jabs at “conservatives”.
As the CATCH program is still in its pilot phase, it would be prudent of the Department of Education to take into consideration the opposition of New York City parents to the program. Healthy sexuality is about much more than reducing the risk of pregnancy. It is parents, not city bureaucrats, who have the best interest of the children involved at heart, and who will be best able to guild them into responsible adulthood.