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Posted at 2:30 AM ET, 06/25/2010

New school condom policy sparks uproar

By Valerie Strauss

Let’s review what just happened in one Massachusetts school district over its new policy on condom distribution to students:

Boston newspapers wrote Thursday about a policy in the Provincetown public schools that would allow students -- of any age -- to request a condom from a school nurse.

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

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By Valerie Strauss  | 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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Oh, please. They can BUY condoms, the little twerps. I am so fed up with education wasting money on nurses, much less condoms. While I'm at it, I'm not too thrilled with the money spent on moronic district superintendants.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | June 25, 2010 4:07 AM | Report abuse

Sure, keep all children uninformed about sexuality and that will solve the problem.

Sure, make it difficult for poor young adults to have access to contraception so that there will a lot more poor children on welfare that all of us will have to pay for.

Sure, we just have to assume that most children don't know anything about sexuality - not that easy access to the internet has changed anything.

Posted by: cmecyclist | June 25, 2010 4:47 AM | Report abuse

This law firm condemns this policy, the people who passed it, and the agenda behind it. What do you think? Should a public school district be allowed to provide condoms to first graders whether their parents like it or not? Please vote:

Posted by: eyeonthelaw | June 25, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

No! This is about kids coming to a school nurse and asking for a condom, to protect themselves at sex. If an elementary kid has the nerve to do that, he/she is a vile little sinner of the worst type and deserves HIV or anything else he/she may contract from unprotected sex. School nurses should be given a definite cutoff age for distributing the condoms -- above that year, OK, below that year -- let the vile suckers die. If kids know the nurse is going to call their parents, it amounts to the same thing as denying them, because they will know not to ask. So either way, they will get the sexually transmitted diseases. This is the best way to move toward the righteous society that we want -- as the sinners die, the righteous will become more numerous, and Jehovah will once again start blessing our great country. Fire that idiot principle, and put someone in their who will deny condoms to kids who ask for them.

Posted by: johnnormansp | June 25, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I hope johnnormansp was trying to be satirical. By the way, it's "principal" when you mean the school official.

Posted by: sideswiththekids | June 25, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

what is the problem in education? The Adults are gutless and the kids know it. Condoms for kids is just the latest insult to our stewardship. Give them condoms, pay for unwed mothers to have all the children they and their baby daddies want, social promotions everywhere, and of course no accountability in the classroom. Can you imagine how teachers can possibly mold minds and values while the nurse is handing out condoms to enable elementary kids to have "safe" sex? Our duties as adults requires us at many times to say "NO!" Do we have the guts or are we so pathetic that 10 year olds are deciding their futures without our intervention? If you care about your kids, demand a ban on condom distribution in all schools k-12!

Posted by: fsg2118 | June 26, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Here's a clue: government employees on government property using government resources have no business messing with other people's kids.

Reason #99,934 for absolute separation of school and state.

Posted by: thebump | June 26, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

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