Protesters want school board to say no to Planned Parenthood

READING, Pa. - Protesters lined the street in front of the Reading School District administration building on Wednesday.

A health resource center, backed by Planned Parenthood, has no place at Reading High School, they said.

"Putting a Planned Parenthood in a high school is like putting the fox in the hen house," said Kathleen Kuhns, an organizer of Concerned Citizens of Reading.

Dozens of people gathered with signs and a strong message, hoping the school board will say no to the center at the high school.

"The teaching of sexual education should be done by the parents and the clergy in a private setting," said Kuhns.

Wednesday night, the Reading School Board will be hearing a presentation from Planned Parenthood about possibly adding a resource center. Several area schools already have the program.

"It's a place where students can come in as they need to, really for counseling, education, advice," said Melissa Reed, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Keystone.

Reed said if the resource center is approved, parents would be able to opt their kids out if they are opposed to it, and schools have the final say in how it's run.

"Most of the schools that we operate in do allow condoms to be on site, and there's a good reason for that, because when they're accessible, young people use them," she said. 

Teen pregnancy rates have been on a steady decline over the past 20 years and experts directly link that to access to birth control, but Kuhns disagrees...

"A new study has just come out to show the opposite. It increases teen pregnancy," she said.

About one-third of the people who protested on Wednesday said they live in the district, and four people said they have kids in the district who would be affected by the center.

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