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Herald-Mail again asks youths why teen birth rate has soared

April 18, 2006

Students have sex education in school, condoms can be purchased in any drug store and few parents, we would bet, are actually encouraging their teenage children to have sex.

Despite all that, the teen birth rate in Washington County continues to increase.

As we said on March 17, everyone from school teachers to local health officials has been interviewed on this subject. Now we want to hear from those who are directly involved.

We're inviting youths age 12-18 to tell us, in 250 words or less, why the local teen birth rate is so high.

Letters are due in by Monday, April 25 and will be published on a page in this section on Sunday, April 30.

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That's just prior to the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which will be held on Wednesday, May 3.

On that day, an organization known as the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy will ask teens to take an online quiz that gives them a series of real-life scenarios that require teens in sexual situations to make a choice.

Teens who responded to last year's assessment needs survey often complained that parents lectured them, as opposed to having real conversations about sex.

Part of having such a dialogue is being willing to listen. We're ready to listen to what teens say about this vital topic and share it with our readers.

Teens may mail their letters to: Opinion Page, The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741 or e-mail them to opinion@herald-mail.com.

Please include your name, address and daytime phone number, so we can contact you if there are any problems.

For more information, please visit this Web site: www.teenpregnancy. org.

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