“What’s the Rush” -
Loudon County 3rd in Teen Pregnancy, statewide
Real Solutions or More Hype?
By: Pat Hunter
August 17, 2008
At Thursday’s, Aug. 14th School Board meeting, a brief presentation was made by 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson regarding the “What’s the Rush” campaign about teen pregnancy. Loudon County ranks 3rd statewide in teenage pregnancy!
After a brief DVD presentation, DA Russell addressed the School Board. Russell said that extra copies of the DVD would be available. If anyone had questions he could be reached at 865 376-2145 Ext. 106 and he also gave directions to his office, which is located in Kingston. District attorneys across the state are endorsing this program and Johnson is on board and ready to promote the program with anyone that will listen.
Toward the end of the meeting, the School Board voted to promote DA Russell’s teen pregnancy program. School personnel also announced that a task force was formed with the two school systems and agencies to address this problem.
High Pregnancy not new problem or issue!
If you travel along on I-75 N. near the Lenoir City entrance ramp, on the right hand side you may notice a large billboard with the message Break the Cycle. The billboard is located on the old Cardwell farm, which is the middle of a construction site undertaking for a new industrial park in the 5th District. High teenage pregnancy rates isn't a new problem but an ongoing issue in our community.
For the last 2 years, Loudon County government voted to give $20,000 each year to the Loudon County Health Improvement Council. Commissioners just approved giving the Health Improvement Council another $20,000. In a recent funding request letter to Loudon County, the letter mentioned that they “began the “Break the Cycle” program.” The message to adolescents and pre-adolescents has been “abstinence.” According to the Health Improvement Council’s website, “We work with schools, churches and community organizations to serve the parents and youth…The purpose of Break the Cycle is to research, inform and educate the community concerning the seriousness of teenage pregnancy.” Based on Loudon County’s high pregnancy rate, this message isn't working. Other areas of the country have enjoyed success with proven programs to reduce teen pregnancy, which include prevention programs, education, counseling, goals and an outreach program.