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Child Predators Project Memo

Many American schools allow Planned Parenthood and other similar organizations on campus to discuss abortion, birth control, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other issues related to the sexual activity of students.

Since the inception of our Child Predators campaign, we have always recognized that it should include not only the abortion industry but these school districts as well. In fact, we have consistently maintained that its impact on the American school system could be almost as great as its impact on Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation. Acting on that, in late October of 2001 we mailed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the superintendents of every one of America's 16,000 school districts. In those letters we asked for answers to the following questions:

1. Has any representative of Planned Parenthood ever been allowed to give a presentation to (or provide information to) students within your school district regarding sex education, birth control, or abortion?

2. Are any school district administrative personnel, board members, employees, agents, or servants allowed to provide students with referrals for abortions or birth control?

3. Are school district funds, or funds under its care, custody or control, ever used to pay for birth control devices (pills, condoms, post-coital emergency contraception, etc.) or abortions?

4. Are any school district administrative personnel, board members, employees, agents, or servants allowed to dispense birth control devices (pills, condoms, post-coital emergency contraception, etc.) to minor students?

5. If a minor student seeks birth control or an abortion referral, does the school district try to determine whether the student is the victim of sexual abuse or statutory rape?

6. If a minor student seeks birth control or an abortion referral, are local or state authorities informed about the possibility that the student may be the victim of sexual abuse or statutory rape?

7. If a minor student seeks birth control or an abortion referral, are her parents informed?

We also requested that they provide a copy of their school district's written policy regarding these issues.

Several thousand districts replied in writing and we also received many phone calls from either the superintendent or the district's legal counsel. As expected with a questionnaire regarding an issue as emotionally charged as this one, the reactions were varied. Some were friendly and supportive, and we even had attorneys for two of the country's largest school districts ask us to help them develop guidelines to use in their schools.

On the other hand, some respondents were openly hostile, expressing utter contempt for us and our mailing. However, regardless of the attitudes exhibited, the overriding emotion was a nervousness that often bordered on panic. Even those who were the most arrogant and angry would inevitably ask, "Are we being sued?" It quickly became obvious that most of the people who responded to our FOIA request had never considered the school's legal position regarding these issues, but the moment we began asking these simple questions they recognized the potential consequences.

The Opportunity

Although most people in the pro-life and pro-family movements realize that America's schools are a pipeline for abortion industry profits, few are aware that the big money is not necessarily in abortion but birth control pills and STD treatments. We've all heard organizations like Planned Parenthood brag that they offer these services to teenagers for free or at a steeply discounted price. Like almost everything else you hear from these groups, that is a lie.

The reality is that they don't do anything for free. Every service they claim to provide for free is actually billed to the government through programs such as Title X. Whether it's the client or the American taxpayers picking up the tab, Planned Parenthood always gets paid.

That's where our opportunity comes in. While these family planning organizations want the public to believe that they sacrificially service teenagers as part of some noble philanthropic crusade, the reality is that they desperately need those kids. That means that for the pro-life movement the formula is brutally simple: (a) without children walking through the front door, organizations like Planned Parenthood have no way to bill the taxpayers for their "free" services, and (b) their primary means of contact with these children comes through the public school system.

Our first school system mailing provided some valuable reconnaissance. First, we confirmed our belief that these institutions are very risk-averse when it comes to litigation exposure. Second, the reactions we received proved how effective a direct mail campaign targeted at them can be.

Armed with that information, in June of 2002 we raised the stakes. We sent another mailing to every school district in America. In this 3-page letter we (a) alerted them that they are legally bound to follow the same reporting requirements as any other entity which comes in contact with minor children, (b) outlined the legal exposure they assume when they operate a school-based health clinic or give Planned Parenthood and similar groups access to students or give students referrals to outside organizations for abortion or birth control, and (c) advised them to have their legal counsel take a second look at the district's sex education, abortion referral, birth control and condom distribution policies.

We used two strategies to make certain that this effort is taken even more seriously than the mailing of October 2001. First, the letter was considerably more forceful and more specific in nature. This time we were not asking questions but putting them on notice that any contact they have with a sexually active child - which is not followed by a report to the state - places the school district at risk for litigation. The tone of this letter made it absolutely clear that they are now under a microscope and if they choose to ignore this warning they do so at great risk to both themselves and their school districts.

Second, we dramatically increased the "weight" of this mailing by sending it via Certified Mail with a return receipt required. Such a mailing gives legal notice of a problem and prompts an action on their part. This approach virtually guaranteed that the mail would actually reach the superintendent to whom it was sent. It also eliminated the possibility that this person could either ignore the letter or casually dismiss it. Any school superintendent who received this letter was certain to see that it ended up in the office of the school district's legal counsel, and that is precisely what we wanted to happen.

At this point it is too early to evaluate the full impact of this mailing. However, our experience with the first mailing clearly suggests that this more aggressive tactic will eventually send shock waves through the nation's entire school system, not to mention Planned Parenthood. It should also cause the project to be taken more seriously by the media and thereby generate a substantial amount of free exposure for the entire Child Predators campaign.

Another consideration is timing. Due to the enormous press coverage already given to the scandal in the Catholic Church, the American people are looking seriously at the issue of adults sexually abusing children and having it covered up by major institutions. In short, the environment is ripe for this project.

Once this letter reaches the school district's law firm, the next steps are relatively predictable. To begin with, there is not an attorney in America who is going to tell any school district he or she represents that they are not potentially exposed to a lawsuit regarding this issue. To do so would leave the attorney wide open to a legal malpractice suit and the attorney knows it. For that reason, the legal opinions furnished back to these school districts are going to range from, "It is possible that the district is exposed" to, "The district is definitely exposed." A response outside those parameters is simply unrealistic.

At that point, the superintendent is left with no option but to present this information to the school board, leaving all concerned with a decision to make. They have to choose whether or not to ignore our warnings as well as the report of their own counsel. The good news is that school boards are notoriously timid when it comes to knowingly exposing their districts to lawsuits.

Follow-up

The next step is for pro-life and pro-family taxpayers to start showing up at school board meetings demanding answers to several very pointed questions. These questions are intended to make it obvious to the school district's legal counsel and decision-makers that (a) they are now under intense and constant scrutiny, and (b) they are going to have to deal with our people and these issues.

Priests for Life has generously agreed to coordinate and oversee this follow-up campaign nationally, and Life Dynamics is providing materials to help insure that this "school board oversite" project is as effective as possible. First, we are providing Priests for Life with the responses we got from the first mailing as well as the responses we are currently getting from the second one. This will help them design the specific approach most appropriate for each school district. In districts that appear receptive to our viewpoint, an educational presentation may be called for while openly hostile districts may require a more aggressive or confrontational approach. The data we have can be a tremendous help in making that determination.

Second, we are providing a sample list of questions which the people who attend school board meetings can submit to the boards. We strongly recommend that these questions be submitted in writing so that the issue would appear as an agenda item for the next meeting and circulated to all board members. We also suggest that our people who are attending this meeting and asking these questions be accompanied by an attorney, and that this attorney's presence be made obvious. This tactic dramatically increases the pressure on the school board - especially if this attorney is the one asking all the questions.

Clearly, the following is a significant number of questions but we believe that such a large volume works to our advantage. These questions can be divided among several people making it far more difficult for the board to "blow-off" the issue. We will also be encouraging operatives to be tenacious and unrelenting in their quest for written answers to these questions. As taxpayers they have a legal right to demand answers, and until they get them they need to be showing up at-and dominating-every board meeting and flooding every superintendent's office with written demands. These school districts have to be shown in no uncertain terms that our people and this issue are not going away. We may not be able to force them into always giving us the answers we want, but we can force them to stake out a position and then live with it. That alone gives us a distinct advantage over our opponents.

Click here for the Questions

More Info

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org