Tracy Lee Steinberg, Former Texas High School Teacher, Faces Felony For Giving Student 'Morning-After' Pill
A former Texas High School teacher faces felony charges for delivery of a dangerous drug after admitting to police that she gave a student an emergency contraceptive pill.
Tracy Lee Steinberg, a 32-year-old assistant basketball coach and math teacher at Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Austin has resigned after she said she gave a 16-year-old female student two morning-after pills, or Plan B, when the student showed up in class crying in January after having unprotected sex.
"I still love and care about all my students, I always have and always will," Steinberg told the Austin American-Statesman. "I always put their needs before my own."
According to an affidavit, Steinberg purchased the drugs at a Planned Parenthood because the student didn't have a prescription, which is required for girls under the age of 17. Steinberg told the girl that "she and her boyfriend had bright futures, and [Steinberg] could help her out," the American-Statesman reports.
The student began feeling regular side effects from the drug, including nausea, light-headedness and back pain, which prompted her to tell her mother, who then filed a report with the police. Steinberg is currently on paid administrative leave, according to KTBC-TV.
The morning-after pill doesn't terminate a pregnancy, but aims to prevent the implementation of a fertile egg, KVUE-TV reports. Austin Independent School District Police Captain Eric Mendez said that though the teacher believes she is helping a student, the decision-making falls on the parents.
Still, former students are supporting Steinberg, who is currently out on $15,000 bond and could face up to two years behind bars if found guilty of delivery of a dangerous drug.
According to KVUE, one student wrote, "If your teacher is not concerned ... shouldn't that be a problem? Don't prosecute her for simply doing her job."
While the LBJ High School student's access to Plan B was restricted by her lack of a prescription, those who meet the 17-year-old age requirement are still often denied access to the emergency contraceptive if they reside in low-income areas.
Teen pregnancy rates in these areas are high, and pharmacies there are just as likely to stock the drug as in other neighborhoods, but pharmacists in underprivileged areas are often misinformed about the law that makes Plan B available to those over the age of 17 without a prescription.
But at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, the recent addition of the morning after pill to campus vending machines has drawn attention from federal regulators. The move was made in an effort to provide students ease of access -- and the university did check all its records to confirm that every student enrolled is over the age of 17.