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Mass. school district giving condoms to kids
June 25, 2010 - Kylie Saari
All over the interwebs a riot of sorts has broken out. Several factions are lining up, alternately blasting and defending a Massachusetts school district for approving a policy allowing all students in the district access to condoms after an information session with the school nurse.
The main problem — to have the policy cover all district students means first graders are included, and now have access to free birth control. Just to add fuel to the fire, the school district isn't telling parents who is asking for them.
One side says this shows the state of our society, that first graders need protection from STDs.
The other side says to chill out, first graders are included only in because they couldn't start birth control at seventh grade and then have a girl get pregnant in sixth. It was all or nothing.
While I admit I am slightly disturbed by the lack of parental notification, defended by the school district by saying it is better that the kids are protected without their parents knowledge than unprotected because they don't want their parents to find out, I understand where the district is coming from.
Sex out of wedlock is dangerous, in my opinion. But I have learned the hard way through the years that not everyone agrees with me, and simply requiring people to do something because I believe it is right not only doesn't work, it is hardly convincing.
So, I will tell my children my opinion. I give them the reasoning. I will teach them at home. And I will hope they trust my experience.
As for not telling the parents. That is something I think can be changed by voicing an opinion about. The government requires education for children, and the facts of life mean most parents can't teach at home. Ergo, the we are required to put our children in their hands. They are not allowed to keep secrets about what goes on there. Transparency between school districts and parents is a necessity.
So, all in all, first graders won't be asking for condoms. If they do, they will get counseling first, which hopefully will be an embarrassing experience for a child who wouldn't even fit the device.
But not telling mom and dad is outrageous. If the district really wants a dialogue to be happening at home, they need to be part of making that happen, not keeping it a secret.
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