Provincetown, Massachusetts is offering condoms to all elementary age school children who ask for them, and yes, that includes first graders.
From the Boston Fox News affiliate:
An elementary school in Provincetown is constituting a controversial condom distribution policy, allowing kids as early as first grade to [obtain them.]The new policy, which the school board voted unanimously to pass, requires students in the elementary school and the high school to speak with a school nurse or trained counselor before receiving a condom.
This will allow students of all ages to learn information on proper use.
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The policy also directs school leaders not to honor demands from parents who object to their kids receiving protection.The school feels that this would infringe on the kids’ right to inform parents.
“We’re talking about younger kids. They have questions they need answered on how to use them, when to use them,” School Superintendent Dr. Beth Singer said.
As always, there are people willing to speak out on both sides. Some think it’s a horrible idea.
My own daughter is just finishing grade two. She studies health at school geared towards her grade level. Her dad and I keep her age appropriately informed in terms of her sexuality. Condom use, in my opinion, doesn’t fall under “age appropriate.” And if any six or seven-year-old requests one, it should set off alarm bells.
It’s difficult to please all parents when it comes to topics covered in school that fall outside the three R’s. Federal and state governments often pass legislation and create policies ignoring the fact some teacher or school nurse way down below on the food chain is going to be the one responsible for making the whimsical requirements workable.
And this is why we end up with rules that are as ridiculous as the Provincetown condom policy.
Elementary school students are unlikely to ask their school nurse for condoms. But policies that fail to take age into account force schools to adopt stop-gap rules that are just as awful as the bad policy holes they are trying to cover up.
Others think it’s a great way to get ahead of potential teen sex.
I’m a strong advocate of early sex ed for kids, that is, honest and age-appropriate information early on. Fundamentally, I don’t think this program — despite the sensational headlines — will end up being any different than others that hand out condoms to kids at school. But there are two things that concern me: 1) Are they promoting condoms to kids in the lower grades? Or is it just a matter of, say, a sign on the wall in the nurse’s office? And 2) I always get a little nervous when parental input is totally disregarded.
Here’s what I think will happen: Some fourth or fifth grade kid will get brave enough to ask for a condom, listen to the speech, then they’ll take it out on the playground where a group of kids will gather around to see what’s inside.
But mostly, the kids who are going to be asking are probably going to be those who are having or are thinking about having sex, like a 14-year-old girl who doesn’t feel safe talking to her parents. This new policy provides her with someone she can talk to — has to talk to, in fact, if she wants her free condom. And maybe that person will say something that makes her think about what she’s about to do.
And no, I don’t think we’ll see any condoms being handed out to first graders.
And then of course there is the Massachusetts Family Council, who thinks it’s the next sign of Armageddon.
Kris Mineau, President, Massachusetts Family Institute, called the new policy “radical” and “absurd.”
“Making condoms available to first graders bullies parents to submit to an agenda that promotes sexual promiscuity to innocent children at their most vulnerable age,” Mineau said in a statement.
So how are actual parents in the school district reacting to the news? You’d be surprised. Via the Boston Herald:
The superintendent added only one parent contacted her, and he simply asked to be informed ahead of the policy’s implementation so he can talk to his child about the birds and the bees before the condoms are up for grabs.
June 24, 2010
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Double-whammy: Aging China has fewer children to care for it – McClatchy Washington Bureau
Fighting HIV with Knowledge – Kansas City infoZine
The world’s mothers need our help – Ottawa Citizen
Bristol Palin on ‘Secret Life’: ‘We’re all teen moms’ – Entertainment Weekly
A Tragedy That Doesn’t Have to Happen – Huffington Post
June 25, 2010
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Cuts question ‘family-friendly’ pledge – The Guardian
Sebelius: Health Care Reform ‘Puts Women Back In Control’ – Huffington Post