Thursday, June 24, 2010

School Policy: Condoms to Kids Old Enough to Ask

Students in Provincetown [Massachusetts] — from elementary school to high school — will be able to get free condoms at school under a recently approved policy that takes effect this fall. The rule also requires school officials to keep student requests secret, and ignore parents’ objections.

It has also been named the nation's "best gay resort town" and a "number one destination" for same-sex weddings . . .

UPDATE 7/1/10: School policy changed to apply to fifth graders and older

UPDATE 6/24/10 late: Mass. gov. forces school to re-write policy

-- From "Tempest Over Kid Condoms Brews in Artsy Provincetown, Massachusetts" by Susan Donaldson James, ABC News 6/24/10

Just this week, the school board of Provincetown, a seaside resort that sits on the tip of Cape Cod, voted unanimously for a sex education policy allowing all children -- elementary and high school -- to seek out a counselor and obtain condoms.

But according to Superintendent Beth Singer, that policy was "misinterpreted and misunderstood," and today the world descended on the smallest school district in the state, asking why it was giving condoms to first graders.

And because school officials felt strongly that those who are sexually active should have protection, they had no "opt out" clause for parents.

In fact, Provincetown's elementary school -- all 85 students -- serves children in pre-K to grade 6, but will soon admit toddlers as young as 15 months.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Condoms, secrecy for Provincetown pupils" by Jack Nicas, Boston Globe Correspondent 6/24/10

"The intent is to protect kids," said School Superintendent Beth Singer, who wrote the policy that the Cape Cod town’s School Committee unanimously passed two weeks ago. "We know that sexual experimentation is not limited to an age, so how does one put an age on it?"

The policy, which requires school nurses to supply condoms to any student who asks, drew criticism yesterday from some parents, a family-advocacy group, and even the town manager, who expressed alarm that children would be able to acquire condoms beginning next school year.

Several high schools in the state make condoms available to students. While complete data were unavailable yesterday, Provincetown’s policy to make them available with no age restriction, and declare parents’ objections irrelevant, seemed to set it apart.

The policy, first reported in the Provincetown Banner, keeps parents from knowing if their children receive condoms, and mandates that school officials can choose to supply them even if parents object.

But Michele Couture, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said that when it comes to sex, safety is paramount.

"I don’t know, you don’t want to take away a parent’s right to decide what’s right for their child," she said. "But it’s unrealistic to think that a parent saying no to condoms means the child’s going to say no to sex. They’re still going to have sex; they’re just not going to have a condom."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.