• Mon, Mar 19 2012

Mommyish Poll: Should Schools Provide Free Condoms To Kids 12 And Older?

condomsA school in Springfield, Massachusetts is planning to give students ages 12 and up free condoms in an attempt to prevent STDs and teen pregnancy. It’s a bold move, to be sure, but the school committee has proposed a program that would notify parents of the plan and give them the opportunity to opt out. Teens who receive their parents’ blessing, however, would also be given counseling as well as information on abstinence.

When I first heard that the school would be providing students with free condoms, I thought, “Finally!” Needless to say, I think it’s a smart move, one that I would gladly stand behind. Contraception does not cause teens to have sex; some are going to have it anyway and so giving them access to birth control is the responsible thing to do. That’s what I believe, anyway. That’s not to say that I think 12-year-olds should be having sex in the first place but, again, if they’re going to do it then let’s educate them and provide them with condoms so that they can do so safely.

Turns out at least one colleague disagrees, arguing the school would be sending a loud message that it approves of teenage sex. “I don’t think the school should be pushing such irresponsible moral messages,” she said. We’ve agreed to disagree – this is part of why I love my job – but now we want to hear from you.

Do you think providing free condoms to teens is a smart move – or does it send the wrong message to students? Take our poll and weigh in in the comments section below.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

(Photo: Keith Brofsky)

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  • Michelle

    This is tough for me. While I want kids to be safe and use protection, something about giving them out to 13 year olds irks me. I like the counseling part and I feel that there is probably something troubling going on in their lives if kids under 16-17 are wanting to have sex.
    What I don’t get is if parents have to agree to allow these kids to have free condoms, why don’t they just buy them for their kids? Hopefully this makes for better communication between parents and their kids.

  • Laura

    As I sit here in study hall looking at my sweet and innocent 6th grade students I can’t possibly imagine why a school would feel the need to hand out condoms to twelve year olds. They are still just babies to me!

    Sigh.

    But I know things are different now. I know that there are some that are sexually active. But I would guess that those twelve year olds that are in need of condoms probably are also in need of some counseling and some adult guidance as well.

    Maybe at least wait until they are in high school?

    I guess there really isn’t an easy answer. I was a kid once and I know what goes on in their little minds and in their social groups but at the same time I am a mother and a teacher and I am able to see the big picture and the potential consequences (physical and emotional) of actions that they aren’t really prepared for at such a young age.

  • Kelly

    You had me until you reached the parental consent part. Right there is why this will fail. Most parents will not give consent, and the kid will continue to do what they’re going to do in secret, but without protection. And we’re back to square one.

  • Fabel

    I don’t see anything wrong with it– kids that age ARE having sex & can really use them & for the ones who aren’t, they can giggle and shove them in a drawer. At least they can all associate condoms with sex, which will hopefully push them to make good decisions later on.

  • CW

    Are the public schools in this country doing such a wonderful job teaching core academics that they can afford to spend resources on stuff like this?