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"This was done purposely." Birth control flyer sent home with elementary students

Sullivan County Director of Schools Dr. David Cox says all schools gave out flyers for the Remote Area Medical Clinic.
Credit: WBIR

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn — Rich Penkoski's son attends Mary Hughes Elementary School.

When he went through his son's school folder and discovered one of the flyers he brought home, he was outraged.

"Why did the school feel it was appropriate to give this flyer to a seven year old?" says Penkoski.

Sullivan County Director of Schools Dr. David Cox says all schools gave out flyers for the Remote Area Medical Clinic.

He says the goal was to spread the word for financially challenged students and families.

Instead?

"What happened on the back of the information, there was another part that was inadvertently sent and it did say free birth control," says Cox.

However, Penkoski doesn't believe it was inadvertent.

“That's a lie,” says Penkoski. “Look at this. This is a full page. This was done purposely by putting this along with this together to print front and back. This was done purposely. Not inadvertently. It's a full page ad."

An irate Penkoski and Dale Walker, from the Tennessee Pastors Network, addressed the Sullivan County School Board Thursday night to express their concerns.

"Somebody needs to be held accountable and somebody should deal with this and put forth stringent guidelines in keeping this stuff from a seven year old," says Walker.

Dr. Cox has one message he wants to make clear to parents.

"What I want folks to know is that it was a very well intentioned effort to make people aware of free health resources,” says Cox. “That's such an important thing."