Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)
TITLE: Baby, Books, or Both?
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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Becky’s face flamed red, “Because of budget cuts, the school is willing to subject students to such appalling garbage. It‘s outrageous!”
Nodding her head, Holly handed Becky a cup of coffee. “Maybe this will help. One might think with something of this magnitude, the very least they should've done is consult with the two people who know what is best for the students. But no, you’re just a nurse and I’m only a school counselor." Holly set her cup down and coffee splashed over the memo. “Well, at least Tim handed you the notice; mine was stuffed in my mailbox”
“Did you know the school board had started planning this months ago? Since June TEEN-TV has been advertising open casting calls at Brooksville High for their show, Baby, Books or Both?I had no idea the board accepted money to have casting calls on campus. I‘m furious, as the school nurse and counselor, we’ve worked diligently to keep teen pregnancy down. Now they pull a stunt like this. You wait and see it‘s going to be a disaster.”
Becky walked to the filing cabinet, “Here are the stats; last year there were one Senior, two Juniors, and one ninth-grader who were pregnant. The Senior graduated and had her baby this summer. However, the other three had just found out they were pregnant at the end of the term. They’re all due between the end of November and January. If Teen-TV wanted to do a show documenting teen pregnancy and problems young parents face, why didn’t they just contact these girls´ parents?”
Holly rolled her eyes, “I try to keep track of the shows my kids watch. Baby, Books or Both? is starting its fourth season. Instead of showing kids how tough it is to be a teen parent and graduate high school, this show has glamorized the mothers; they‘ve become Reality-TV stars overnight.”
Hearing the clamor of anxious students, Becky glanced at her co-worker, “Let the day begin; I’m doing the pregnancy tests, discussing each teen’s options, then if need be, sending them to you to talk more. I pray you won‘t be too busy. The casting call invited students from the tri-state area; hopefully there won‘t be too many positive results. In 2010, we had the lowest ratio of teen pregnancies in the state. I have a haunting feeling that won’t be true again for quite some time.”
Opening the door, Nurse Becky’s eyes bulged as she quickly estimated fifty girls. With great efficiency, she and her college-student nurses asked each girl a bevy of questions, led the patient into the bathroom with a specimen cup and instructions to urinate and place the container on the shelf, then she waited to be called into Nurse Becky’s private office for the results.
At the end of the long morning, Becky and Holly sat down for lunch. “That was horrible, I had an 8th grader who tested positive; when I asked her if she knew what she was going to do, she looked at me like I was crazy and announced her parents would be excited because the show pays more for pre-teens. It took all of my will power not to burst into tears. I still think we should refer the case to Child Protection Services.”
Holly nodded and reached for a tissue, “I had one girl come into the office sobbing, so I sat her down to make sure she knew and understood all of her options. She was crying because she wasn’t pregnant! I guess she had tried all summer with several different boys; I asked if you had referred her to the clinic for STD testing. Well, two of the TV producers heard the girl telling her friends after she left my office.”
Becky patted her friend’s arm, “You must have been furious.”
“Oh, Sweetheart, don‘t you know. The producer told his lackey, ‘We could do a show called STDs in Middle School.’ Can you imagine?”
“Not after I present the stats to the health department. I did 77 pregnancy tests today alone, with 45 positives. How sad that television can start a pregnancy epidemic. Now they want to condone STDs? Not during my lifetime! I plan on stopping TEEN-TV.”
“Count me in.”
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