Students as young as twelve could soon have access to free condoms at schools across a town in Massachusetts, thanks to a controversial new policy.
The Springfield School Committee has given first-step approval to the new measure – aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The committee cast five votes to one in favor of the ‘Comprehensive Reproductive Health Policy’, which would allow students to get free condoms from school nurses and high-school based clinics.
Committee member Peter Murphy disagrees with the move and was the one person to vote against the measure.
He felt uncomfortable with the policy and believes dishing out free condoms would not decrease the number of children having protected sex, according to the Republican newspaper.
‘It’s also the wrong message that we send to kids. They should not be sexually active at age 12, age 13. It’s inappropriate and in fact, it’s illegal,’ he said.
Some parents with children at local schools also disagree with the incentive arguing that it promotes sex among students.
The policy allows parents ‘to deny permission (opt out) for access to condoms for their students.’
The measure includes guidance for how to use the condoms and comes with a provision for student counselling on abstinence.
Mayor Domenic Sarno, chairman of the School Committee, called it a ‘smart move.’
One more vote of approval is still needed to pass the policy, but a majority of the committee plans on backing it again.
‘Part of it talks about abstinence, it talks about all the responsibility that goes along with it and it’s actually decreasing the amount of sexual activity in young children,’ said Vice-Chariman Christoper Collins.
Officials say Springfield is ranked fourth in the state for teen birth rate and they’re hoping that this measure will change that.
Source. Daily news uk