New Hampshire School Officials Launch Probe Into Abortion Center Field Trip

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 13, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Hampshire School Officials Launch Probe Into Abortion Center Field Trip Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 13
, 2007

Manchester, NH ( — Members of the Manchester city school board have voted to launch a probe into why students at a middle school there were taken to a Planned Parenthood abortion business on a field trip. Last week, parents in the New Hampshire town learned that the school partnered with the YMCA for the trip under the guise of a program for at risk students.

The Manchester school district has partnered with the YMCA for years for the program to help students who are considered likely to drop out of school.

YMCA took the students to various places around town to show them summer programs and places to get involved in positive activities. However, a local Planned Parenthood was also on the list.

The school board voted to instruct school administers to investigate the trip and recommend whether any changes need to be made to school policies or disciplinary actions taken.

"[The investigation] needs to happen immediately," Mayor Frank Guinta told the Manchester Union Leader newspaper and said he expected the results in a few days.

Doug Kruse, a member of the school board told the newspaper that he supported the vote for the investigation because the trip violated the trust of local parents. He also advocated canceling the at-risk program because of the abortion center visit.

Kruse was also upset that Parkside Middle School principal Dawn Michaud told the newspaper she was aware of the Planned Parenthood visit but told senior school officials she had no previous knowledge of it.

"Somebody doesn’t have their story straight," Kruse said.

Ultimately, the YMCA took 41 seventh and eighth grade students last Wednesday to the abortion facility.

Mayor Frank Guinta, chairman of the city school board, told the Manchester Union Leader newspaper that he has heard from numerous parents who were upset and promised to never subject the students to a tour of an abortion center again.

"I’m extremely disappointed," he said of the YMCA trip choice. "I don’t think it’s appropriate for that age group, nor do I think it’s appropriate for that kind of information to be disseminated to kids in that age group by a school program."

"I would expect that these types of trips won’t take place in the future," he added, saying he was not aware the list of field trip destinations included Planned Parenthood.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Frank Bass also confirmed to the Union Leader that the trip would be its first and last.

"We’ve talked to the YMCA and told them that in the future we’re not going to visit Planned Parenthood," he said.

Anne Johnson, the Planned Parenthood staff member who spoke for three minutes to the children at the abortion center, said abortion was never discussed. However, the students encountered pro-life protesters on the way into the center and knew that’s what the facility did.

But Joyce Palmer, the YMCA’s community outreach director, defended the trip in comments to the newspaper.

"The intent of the day was to provide information to kids who are getting ready for the summer and won’t have the support of school or at home," said Palmer. "The intent was not to take kids to an abortion clinic. That word was never said."

ACTION: Please contact the following to express your dismay: Middle School at Parkside, 75 Parkside Ave, Manchester, NH 03102 or call (603) 624-6356. You can fax a letter to 603-624-6355 or email Dawn Smith-Michaud at [email protected]. Also contact the Manchester School District at 286 Commercial Street, Manchester, NH 03101. (p) 603-624-6300, (f) 603-624-6337.

Related web sites:
Manchester school district –