Local News

Some Oppose Teaching Safe Surrender Law in Schools

Posted August 13, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— North Carolina high school students will soon be required to take a class that provides instructions on how to lawfully abandon a newborn. But some people said they worry the new curriculum could increase the number of unplanned pregnancies.

The state's Safe Surrender Law allows mothers to abandon newborns up to 7 days old without legal repercussions as long as the infant is left with a responsible adult, such as at a hospital, fire station or police station.

Vance County has one of the state's highest teen pregnancy rates, with more than 10 percent of girls ages 15 to 19 getting pregnant in 2005, the most recent year for which data is available.

"It is frustrating, and we are seeking ways to improve our teen pregnancy rate," Vance County Health Director Dr. W. Rodwell Drake Jr. said. "Education is the key."

Local school officials said they plan to draft their curriculum on the Safe Surrender Law in the next few weeks before sending it to the Vance County Board of Education for approval. Teachers would begin using the curriculum in the 2008-09 school year.

But some people said teaching students how to abandon unwanted babies could lead to more unplanned pregnancies.

"You never think about the consequences," said Bruce Beck, education minister of Central Baptist Church in Henderson.

Beck also said schools should encourage adoptions instead of abandonment to teens that don't want to raise their newborns. He compared the Safe Surrender Law to placing an infant in a drop box.

"If they're in a drop box, they're going to have to go through the government system of having to find parents. They're going to be temporarily put somewhere, and it's going to be back and forth, back and forth," he said.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • nowon_yuno Aug 15, 2007

    I'm confused? You can't teach safe sex or abstinence in school but you can teach how to dump a body? Another thing that is odd to me is people seemed more upset about finding all the dead dogs on Michael Vicks property than they do about finding babies in dumpsters.

  • shine Aug 15, 2007

    If they spend more time teaching safe sex - obvioulsly that is happening - then you wouldn't need to give instructions on how to abandon a child.

    @ Nancy......... "This is such BS". Well stated !

  • us citizen Aug 15, 2007

    martini- When I heard the safe surrender law discussed by the news media, they did not mention the part about the responsible adult. I have not read the law, nor do I expect the teenagers who need to use it have.

    Half the pregnant teens probably do not attend school anyway, so where are they going to get this information?

  • Nancy Aug 14, 2007

    This is so typical of the massive liberal movement in public education, instead of focusing on teaching core subject matter, it's a social agenda in many classrooms.

    This is such BS.

  • shep8851 Aug 14, 2007

    As a high school social studies teacher, I make certain that I cover the Safe Surrender Law. Not out of any attempt to compensate for a lack of parental action or concern,or because any state or local law requires it, but rather to remember the two new borns found in Cumberland Co. not too long ago. Baby Michael--found along side a road, dead. Another baby found dead in a garbage dumpster. All of the arguements about responsibity, teaching abstence or not, the role of parents and educators are well and good. How much good will all this talk be when they find yet another newborn baby dead in the garbage bin? If I can do anything to prevent that, I'll do it.

  • martini Aug 14, 2007

    US citizen-- it is not a building that is in safe surrender, it is a a responsible adult.

    NCteacher-- a teacher is typically with a child for 6 plus hours a day. I would consider this to fall under life skills. It truly amazes me the number of kids that graduate that can not balance a checkbook. In my opinion teachers are paid for the amount of impact they make on a child's life.

    jahausa-- I completely agree with you.

    I have raised my kids from day one to know they always have options. Now that they are harder, when they have a problem, they know they have options and have a clear process and how to come to a resolution. I feel this is better than trying to hide a problem to trashing it and not taking responsibility. Unfortunately not all children have access to guidance in their homes, if they have homes. Education and guidance are key!

  • AM is Back to Being Immaculate Aug 14, 2007

    The point of this law is to keep scared kids from doing stupid things like dumping babies in trash cans or leaving them in bathrooms at fast food restaurants.

    All of you one track minded people that think this will only lead to more unplanned pregnancies need to open your eyes.

    Education and options help kids to make better choices not ignorance.

  • Bing Used Aug 14, 2007

    ~loudnoises~ and anyone else who doesn't know this...6th graders are getting pregnant and having babies. There is no way to keep them ignorant about sex. Kids need to know the facts. HORMONES are raging at this point and that is all they are listening to.

  • christinathefern Aug 14, 2007

    I cannot believe anyone in their right mind would think that teaching children about safe surrender would make the teen pregnancy rate go up. I mean, like vomiting for 3 months, walking around like a penguin, constantly urinating, poor sleeping, and having your body permanently altered is "no big deal cuz I'll just give up the baby anyway?" Obviously these teens don't know about sexually transmitted diseases either, because the same methods that can LEGALLY be taught to protect against AIDS and HEP C will also prevent pregnancy. If the sperm is hitting the egg, the viruses are getting in the body too..I won't even go into my rant about free condoms and birth control from the health department and low-cost Plan B from pharmacys here in North Carolina that would help too!
    If kids had more to do than drugs and sex, maybe things wouldn't be so bad. Or...here's a biggie...maybe if they had PARENTS who were involved.
    Okay, I'll step down and stop making fragmented thoughts..

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Aug 14, 2007

    I'm amazed by the hate I read in some of these comments. It sickens me every time I hear about a baby found dead in a dumster, especially knowing that the safe surrender law could have saved that baby. BTW, safe surrender requires that the baby is given to a responsible adult, not dropped off on the door step of the fire station. Our own ignorance of the law shows the need for more education. I don't think it takes a class, but a mention, especially to pregnant girls would help.

    Adoption is already an option and everyone knows it, so safe surrender is unlikely to cause more teens to have sex. It is intended only to protect babys with mothers unable to cope in those first days of having a baby.

    I wish everyone had a family or church they could count on for help. Maybe they could get through that transition and learn to become responsible parents. But I live in reality and I don't want innocent babys to die.