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The district board unanimously approved providing contraceptives at its two school-based health centers.

Tigard-Tualatin School Board approves contraceptives at its two high schools

The Tigard-Tualatin School District has approved allowing health centers at the district's two high schools to provide contraceptives for students.

On Monday evening, the board unanimously voted to allow the two school-based health centers, located at Tualatin and Tigard High schools, to prescribe or provide contraceptives to its patients, according to Susan Stark Haydon, a spokeswoman for the district.

"The board members all kind of spoke from their hearts when they approved it," Stark Haydon said.

She said no one believes that being sexually active as a teen is a good thing but that they realize some students are and this is an opportunity to make such activity safer.

Stark Haydon said eight people testified during public comment on the issue Monday, six in favor of the proposal and two against.

While an initial listening session on the issue was held Jan. 23, a second listening session planned for last Tuesday was cancelled because of bad weather. Nevertheless, email comments directed at the board were encouraged, Stark Haydon said.

In all, the district received 102 comments in person or via email on the contraceptives issue, she noted.

During the Jan 23 listening session, of the dozens of residents who weighed in on the measure, no one spoke against the proposal.

Up to this point, neither of the district's health centers have been allowed to prescribe or provide contraceptives of any kind to its patients, who are 19 or younger. Those centers, run by the nonprofit Virginia Garcia group, don't turn away students based on their ability to pay for services.

As part of the board's approval, district staff has drawn up a list of administrative rules regarding contraceptive prescription and distribution.

The district twice before declined to allow contraceptives to be provided or prescribed, once in 2008 and again in 2012.

A 2017 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey, which was distributed to those at the Jan. 23 meeting, showed that 5 percent of eighth-graders and 36 percent of high school juniors in the Tigard-Tualatin School District have had sexual intercourse.

Under state law, minors age 15 and older are able to consent to both medical and dental procedures without the consent of their parents. In addition, minors of any age can access birth control service without parental consent.

Both of the Beaverton School District's health centers and 13 school-based health centers in Multnomah County provide contraceptives to their patients.

(Ray Pitz, a reporter with the Tigard-Tualatin Times newspaper, and Blair Stenvick, a reporter with Pamplin Media Group, contributed to this article.)

Editor's note: A previous version of this story stated that in Oregon, minors age 15 and younger are able to consent to both medical and dental procedures without the consent of their parent. This is incorrect; the law applies to minors 15 and older, not 15 and younger.

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