SAN FRANCISCO – All San Francisco middle school students now have easy access to condoms, whether or not their parents want them to have them.
The San Francisco Unified School District became the third in California – after Oakland and Los Angeles – to give away condoms to middle schoolers when board members unanimously approved the decision at a meeting Tuesday night, NBC Bay Area reports.
SFUSD safety and wellness director Kevon Gogin said the decision is based on a survey of sixth through eighth grade students that showed about 5 percent are sexually active and 3 percent use condoms. The move also eliminates an existing provision to school policy that allowed parents to opt their children out of the condom availability program, according to ABC 10.
Students as young as 11 years old can now simply ask a school employee for condoms and receive a rubber without issue.
According to the San Francisco Examiner, “condoms are provided to the schools from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and are packaged with educational and instructional materials.
“Middle school students would need to meet with a school social worker or district nurse before receiving condoms.”
“This is not a giveaway program,” board member Rachel Norton said, SFGate.com reports. “They are going to be in a private, controlled space with an educator.
“This policy really is about the handful of students who really need it.”
Many parents, however, refuse to get with the program.
Victor Seeto, issues chairman of the Chinese American Democratic Club, “undermines the authority of the family.”
“The program’s message says sex is normal, is acceptable, but disease is bad,” Seeto said. “Let us strengthen the family not weaken it.”
Other parents pointed out that they must give permission for their children to go on field trips, and questioned why they’re not afforded the same opportunity regarding their child’s sex education.
Phyllida Burlingame, “reproductive justice policy director” for the ACLU of Northern California, thinks she has the answer.
“Students have the right to access reproductive health care confidentially,” she told SFGate. “Really nothing limits schools from being a place that provides that care.”
SFUSD board vice president Shamann Walton said he had children when he was a teenager, and believes educating middle school students about safe sex is a good idea.
“If I had the information at the right time, I might not have had children so young,” he said.
Some parents also seemed to support the new policy.
“It’s latex; it’s an inanimate object,” mother Emily Grimm said. “It’s not going to tell my kid what to do. I don’t see what the problem is.”