New school condom policy sparks uproar
Let’s review what just happened in one Massachusetts school district over its new policy on condom distribution to students:
Before receiving the condom, the student must receive counseling from the nurse, including information on abstinence. Parents would not be told, and could not prevent a child from receiving one.
Beth Singer, the school district superintendent who wrote the policy (which the school board approved to begin this fall), was quoted by the Boston Globe as saying that children of any age could ask for a condom without parental permission: “We know that sexual experimentation is not limited to an age, so how does one put an age on it?"
But she also told the Globe that she expected nurses at elementary schools would ask a series of questions of any student who requested a condom and then deny the request.
School Committee Chairman Peter Grosso was quoted as saying he argued against limiting the policy to high school students.
"I was the one who said, ‘Well, you never know,’ " said Grosso, whose two children graduated from Provincetown High School. "It’s very possible that a fifth- or sixth-grader would be getting involved in sexual activity."
Naturally, the news of the new policy caused a huge public fuss, played out on radio stations and leading to a request later in the day by Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to Singer to rethink the policy.
Patrick, who is seeking reelection against opponents that include two conservatives, told the Associated Press that he opposed the policy on several grounds, including the age of the students covered and the inability of parents to stop their kids from receiving a condom.
Meanwhile, Provincetown Town Manager Sharon Lynn said she would prefer a system requiring parental consent until children reach a certain age.
So here are some questions for you:
If public schools are going to give out condoms to students, what is the minimum age kids should be to request and receive them? Should there be an age limit? Do you believe that handing out condoms actually encourages sexual activity? If you don’t, why should there be an age limit?
Let me hear from you, in the comments or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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| June 25, 2010; 2:30 AM ET
Categories: Health | Tags: condoms and elementary school students, condoms and schools, kids getting condoms, massachusetts and condoms and public schools, nur, schools giving condoms, schools handing out condoms, should schools give out condoms?, students getting condoms
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