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School to Give Middle Schoolers Condoms without Parental Consent

The Short of It

A California school board has decided to give middle schoolers access to condoms without parental consent, and predictably, parents are furious.

The Lowdown

The San Francisco Unified School Board voted unanimously to distribute contraception to middle school students if they first seek a consultation with a school nurse. But these kids would have access to the condoms confidentially, something parents say sends the wrong message, namely that having sex at such a young age is okay.

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"We have to sign a consent form for them to go on a field trip, but we don't need to know if they're getting a condom?" one parent demanded at a school board meeting.

"We're talking about between 11 and 14 years old. And they are not ready for it, so I don't think this is appropriate," another said.

"It seems so casual. It's like you get a free lunch for low-income families, but if you need it, you can get a free condom," another parent commented to ABC News 13.

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But advocates say kids are becoming sexually active whether parents want them to or not, and distributing condoms is a preventative measure.

"We don't see the kind of sexualized images and videos that our children are exposed to. And these kids are starting younger and younger every single day," teacher Daisy Ozin explained.

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The Upshot

This is a tricky one. As a parent, I'd be horrified that the school thought it was its right to hand out condoms to my child before I felt it was appropriate.

But on the other hand, I'd rather my children have access to contraception if they needed it, instead of my feelings of denial contributing to the potential of an unprotected sexual encounter taking place. The key seems to be having those conversations with your kids before the school does, openly discussing what you expect, and being there to answer questions about sex. Because clearly, if they don't learn about it from you, they'll get the information somewhere else.

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