Planned Parenthood is teaching health in Salem-Keizer high schools. On his March 21 radio show, conservative Keizer talk show host Bill Post objected. Post said he’d heard North Salem high school students complained because in one class their regular teacher left the room while the instruction occurred and that, though uncomfortable, they felt pressured to participate as a part of graduation requirements.
Mr. Post then said, “Planned Parenthood, as you know, is an abortion factory here in Salem. They have a factory in Salem. It’s a baby-killing factory, we all know that, let’s just call it what it is. Let’s not dance around the issue here.”
His online blog repeated the story and encouraged citizens to take action. It posted a link to a Catholic organization “with experience fighting Planned Parenthood on many levels, including the schools,” which includes a step-by-step plan to end Planned Parenthood.
The Catholic site criticizes Planned Parenthood as a means to indoctrinate children with philosophies “that include the acceptance of abortion and deviant sexual practices… ”
Post said he contacted SKSD Superintendent Sandy Husk to ask if the class was mandatory for graduation but that he had not, as of March 21, received a satisfactory response from the district. His site encourages citizens to rid the schools of Planned Parenthood.
Salem Weekly asked Jennifer Melo, Education Programs Manager for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, about the classes her organization teaches in local public schools. We specifically wanted to know if Planned Parenthood taught students about abortion, if student participation was mandatory and if regular class teachers left students alone with Planned Parenthood instructors.
It turned out the answer to each of these is “no.” Ms. Melo told us:
1) “Our staff does not teach about abortion in the SKSD. We use an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention curriculum called the Teen Outreach Program, (TOP) which is owned by Wyman.” TOP information taught by Planned Parenthood is not a Planned Parenthood curriculum and is being implemented in 45 sites in 28 states. “In a previous study, this program had proven results for increasing academic success and decreasing unintended pregnancies and school drop out rates.”
2) Classes aren’t mandatory. “Letters went home to every parent in the program. Signed parental and student consent was gained from every student who participates. Students who do not wish to participate are given alternative health curriculum assignments.”
3) “Regular class teachers are present in the classroom.”
Participation in TOP also requires youth to complete at least 20 hours of community service doing projects they choose themselves. Melo says, “It’s this connection to their community that forms a protective factor helping to mitigate riskier behaviors and decision making.”
Salem Weekly contacted Mr. Post with specific questions, but our first email was stopped by his computer’s filter, and when he received our second he let us know he had left his office, where all his records were kept.
He did tell us, “I am not a news person, I am a commentator, so I am not much help with news stories. I don’t make news nor report on it. I just comment.”