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.

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(Photo: Keith Brofsky)