Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/20/1996 03:04 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HCR 27 -  TEEN PREGNANCY EDUCATION                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1478                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY passed the gavel to Co-Chair Bunde for HCR 27.                
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said this committee was probably more aware than any           
 other committee in the legislature of the problems facing Alaska              
 stemming from teen pregnancies.  Alaska has an incredibly high teen           
 pregnancy rate, higher than some Third World countries, and it is             
 an ongoing challenge to deal with the problems created by teen                
 pregnancy.  Pregnant teens are more likely to have children who               
 then become pregnant teens and pregnant teens are more apt to be on           
 welfare and have economically depressed circumstances.  One thing             
 that has worked quite well in encouraging young people to                     
 understand just what a major experience it is to have a child is a            
 project at Mears Junior High in Anchorage called "Sugar Baby."  The           
 project provides students the opportunity to experience some of the           
 difficult responsibilities involved in being a parent.  A "Sugar              
 Baby" is a 10 pound bag of sugar which the student must be                    
 responsible for the total care and protection for a week.  Students           
 may not lose, break or drop the baby, and they may not cause the              
 child to be taken away.  It is the students responsibility to make            
 sure the baby is protected from hazardous situations at all times,            
 and they must plan to include their baby in all activities, dates,            
 and shopping sprees.  The project prohibits hiring a baby-sitter.             
 Co-Chair Bunde said this resolution not only recognizes the work              
 done at Mears Junior High, but commends this project to high                  
 schools and junior high schools in the state and encourages them to           
 look at the project for their school.                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was aware of other projects that             
 used eggs as the baby and wondered if the project should be                   
 expanded to include other programs, or did Co-Chair Bunde think the           
 Sugar Baby concept was the best.                                              
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE thought the Sugar Baby project worked well because             
 the weight and bulk are most closely associated with a child.                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if the project required young men and           
 women both to participate in the project.                                     
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE responded yes.                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if there was a particular grade level           
 involved.                                                                     
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE replied the project had been done in the junior high           
 school.  His personal opinion was that the project needed to be               
 conducted at the impressionable age, but not the terribly                     
 vulnerable age.                                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if there were other aspects of                  
 parenting that were taught.                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the entire lesson teaching plan was available             
 in committee members' packets.  It is an entire research project              
 that deals with clothing, feeding, costs involved, etc.                       
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY directed the attention of the committee to comments           
 made by the boys involved in the project.  She thought it was an              
 excellent tool in getting boys to recognize what it was like to be            
 a teen-age father.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG pointed out that Mears Junior High School             
 was in his district and he is particularly proud they did such a              
 wonderful job implementing this program in spite of the fact they             
 have very few computers, no Close Up program and no travel budget             
 for their high school sport team.  Representative Rokeberg was very           
 supportive of the resolution.                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referenced the responses from the children               
 regarding the project and said one student indicated she was                  
 definitely not having any children after having to tote the "Sugar            
 Baby" around for a week.  On the other hand, one student indicated            
 she was definitely waiting to have a child.                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE referenced the report in the committee packets on              
 the percentage of students having sexual intercourse; 30 percent              
 are sexually active starting in the 7th grade.                                
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said that many of them were unplanned pregnancies             
 and every unplanned pregnancy is a potential AIDS victim.                     
 Unprotected sex is like playing Russian Roulette.                             
                                                                               
 Number 2035                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to pass HCR 27 out of committee with            
 accompanying fiscal note and individual recommendations.  Hearing             
 no objection, HCR 27 was moved out of committee.                              
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that on Thursday the committee would be              
 hearing a bill on the WICHE/WAMI program and would begin hearings             
 on the Juvenile Code Revision.                                                

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