Condom Outrage

condom Veterans Memorial Schools in Provincetown, Massachusetts, has unanimously passed a controversial new school policy.  All students, regardless of grade or age, will have access to free condoms.  All they have to do is ask.  And when they do ask, they will receive counseling, which includes information on abstinence, from a nurse.  And then they’ll get the condom.  At no time in any of this will parents be informed that their child has asked for, and received, a condom.  Regardless of age.  Allow me to repeat that.  Parents will NOT be informed.  Children WILL receive condoms, regardless of age.

Some committee members didn’t even like the counseling portion of the policy:

“I don’t like that students can’t be discreet about this,” said school committee member Shannon Patrick. “They have to go and ask for it. I’d rather them not have the conversation [with counselors] and have the condom than not have the condom.”

On several blogs that I visited when researching the issue, many people held out the opinion that ‘just because the school is giving out condoms, it doesn’t mean the school is saying, “go have sex.”’  I disagree.

The Endorsement Issue:

The law says that parents cannot, in their own home, serve liquor of any kind to their children who are under the age of 21.  Whether you agree with this law or not, part of the impetus behind the law is that parents serving ‘underage’ children is tacit approval of drinking.  Parents are admonished by everyone from the Ad Council to Congress not to smoke in front of their children, not to swear, talk on the phone or text while driving, or eat fatty foods in front of their children.  All of those behaviors because they offer tacit approval of what some consider dangerous or undesirable behavior.  And yet, offering condoms to younger and younger children somehow avoids that “tacit approval” argument.  How does that work, exactly?  The school cannot allow kids a moment of silence for prayer because that’s “endorsing” religion, but handing out condoms isn’t “endorsing” underage sex?

The Parental Information Issue:

As outrageous as the policy is, I don’t think that there will be kindergartners, first graders, second graders asking for condoms, unless they’re pressured by an older child as a joke.  The real problem that I have here has been overshadowed by the K-5th grade policy.  Everyone is focusing, laser-like, on the fact that little kids who barely know where their “private parts” are will be allowed to ask for condoms, and receive counseling for their use.  But what’s really disturbing – and rather conspiracy-theoryish – is this part of the policy: Parents will not be informed if their kids request condoms.

Um.  Excuse me?

I can’t send an aspirin to school with my kid without a doctor’s note, but you, a relative stranger, can not only provide a condom to him, but you can counsel him about sex as well?

This whole thing is so very wrong on so many levels:

~ The blatant assumption that I cannot counsel my own child, in my own time and based upon his mental and emotional maturity, and couched in our family’s personal and religiously held morals and values.

~ The assumption that it is the school’s position to give any health-related paraphernalia to my child, outside of bandages and other first-aid in an emergency, but that I cannot provide a cough drop or an aspirin when I know that my child might need it.

This comes down the over-arching idea that has absolutely permeated the public schools, and also much of our society, that we are unable to blink properly without governmental oversight.  From handing out condoms to kids to choosing their friends for them, the schools are setting themselves up as default parents, and whether we like it or not, parents are being shoved to the sidelines, and told that their kicking and screaming is inappropriate.

Other links to the same story:

ABC News Wire Story

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer story

This entry was posted in education, school, sex, teenagers, today's times, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Condom Outrage

  1. SKL says:

    Well, of course I have many thoughts about this. But first, I have to say it’s VERY likely that the older kids will send younger ones to ask for the condoms on their behalf. It will add a layer of anonymity. So that means that little kids are going to be deep in the middle of stuff they don’t really need to know about, or at least not at any level of detail.

    The lack of parental notification would have me boiling and I’d probably just die right then and there. I have not had time to read how this story is playing out (I did see the headlines in many places). But I hope a huge percentage of parents are protesting by taking their kids out of school. (Oh yeah, it’s summer, so they are probably thinking this will all “blow over” by fall – but hopefully parents will remember.) If half of the kids don’t show up, the school won’t even be able to pay for the lights, so maybe then they will take the parents’ concerns seriously.

    Parents need to fight to regain the right to make decisions concerning their children. Sex is one of the most important things we need to help children understand. It is far too important to let someone other than the child’s parent have any authority whatsoever, especially without a requirement that the parents be 100% informed.

    Regarding the message the condoms send, of course it’s an endorsement. It’s also terribly misleading. It implies that sex with a condom has no dangers. How horrible. How many pre-teens and even tweens will experiment with full-blown sex because of this irresponsible message? Does anyone really think it’s OK for an 11-year-old to have “protected” sex???

    Modern “sex education” is “justified” based on examples of kids who “did it anyway” and had horrible results, allegedly because they didn’t know any better. Come on. We all know that the number of kids for whom that is really true is tiny. Much less than the number of young kids who are now having sex because of the attitude that it’s no big deal. It is a big deal! I want to go back to the days when girls thought sex was dangerous, even if the biggest danger they saw was their parents’ wrath.

  2. Joy says:

    I want to see what everyone else has to say on this. I know on that “other blog,” I was usually alone on these kinds of issues. I will say now that while I do think there should be an age limit, I’m not against this in high school. I don’t think this should even be considered in elementary school. I can’t wrap my head around that but with older kids who may not have anyone at home to turn to, then I can see the need for it. While in a perfect world and life, nobody would need this but I’m for the kids who don’t have involved parents in their life. I saw so much of this when I worked at the school and I always felt bad for “those kids” who had nobody that cared.

    But elementary age kids? No way.

    • SKL says:

      I don’t disagree with much of your comment, but I still think parental notification shouldn’t be blown off even in high school. Maybe it could be modified, e.g., parents of kids under 17 could be informed of what their kid has been given if the parents ask. (I still don’t like this – I still feel it’s like condoning the act – but it’s better than no parental control at all.)

      I just feel it is hard enough to parent a teen-ager, and this is only going to make it harder. I believe most parents do care and most kids – especially younger teens – would benefit from their parents knowing this kind of thing. If there is one teen here and there who is honestly afraid of getting his brains beat out (but apparently not scared enough to abstain), maybe he needs to file a claim with CPS. It seems wrong to do something that isn’t best for the majority of teens, just to protect a few.

  3. Joy says:

    BTW. This is a great post. We haven’t had a “meaty” one for a long time.

  4. Ellen says:

    I have to read all the comments and the story again, then I will post a reaction. I am for now stunned by this article. What the heck is going on nowadays.

  5. Jenny says:

    We seen this on the news the other night. We were like really? Elementary school? Even kindergarten. That makes no sense what so ever. What are they gonna do with the condoms? Blow them up for balloons? And to be told from the school that its not up to the parents if they want their kid to recieve these condoms. What happened to the parents rights? I would be taking my kid to a different school that still had parental rights!

  6. lucy says:

    I agree with Joy that I think the policy is fine for high schoolers. I’m torn on middle school aged children. I think its fact that a certain percentage of children will have sex as young as 12 (or even younger). I don;t think that the mere availability of condoms is going to make children/teenagers want to have sex… condoms alone don’t portray that sex is no big deal. To me, the availability of condoms deals with the reality that sex is dangerous and can have consequences. It actually brings up the subject of safe sex. To me, that is better than a school that completely ignores sex and only teaches abstinence!! I know for a fact that its possible to educate children about sex … without supporting children having it… and while making sure they know its a big deal!

  7. Joy says:

    While I don’t feel that it’s necessary for elementary kids to get birth control, I also don’t feel it sends a message that sex is okay or that it promotes it. We all know when you’re ready for sex, or if you think you’re ready, you’re going to have it with or without a condom.

    I remember when I “thought” I was ready for sex. My boyfriend and I both went *red faced* to Target for condoms arguing about who was going to actually purchase them. I could have gone to my mom. She was always very open with us but at the time, I felt it was between me and him so there’s no way I’d have gone to the school and I for sure wouldn’t have if I thought they were going to call my parents. If kids know mom and dad are going to be called, it’s kind of a moot point but I do agree, I’d have a problem with MY kids getting them from school but I still say, for those who may not have anyone else to turn to, the school nurse may be the only alternative. Sometimes in high school you just don’t want your parents to know something like this. I can’t explain why I didn’t go to mine when they were so open with me.

    I know kids are having sex at a much younger age and I hope Nikki will come on and tell you about a conversation she had with Bailey, her son who is only 9 years old. I also feel when kids are really young they do think stuff like this is embarrassing and would joke about it or use them as a balloon and I personally don’t feel kids that young need to know what sex it unless they ask. If they ask, I say tell the truth in an age appropriate way but say no more. I feel if you don’t tell them the truth they won’t believe you when you tell them something.

    I don’t think talking about anything promotes it. Or then we wouldn’t need to talk about “stranger danger” or “say no to drugs.” I feel talking about safe sex is very important BUT not in elementary school. If someone that young wants to have sex, they’re going to no matter what you’re going to say or do.

  8. SKL says:

    Here’s a question. Suppose a guy thinks he’s ready and his girlfriend thinks she’s not. He tries to get her interested, but she says, “no way, what if I get pregnant?!” So he whips out a condom. Is she more at risk of having sex before she’s ready, because he’s brought a condom? Keep in mind that this can now happen whether s/he’s 18, 15, or 12.

    I know girls “ideally” know how to say “NO” and mean it regardless. But many girls find it very hard to say “no, I don’t want to.” It’s easier to say “no, it’s too dangerous.”

    If this is what my kids have to deal with, then how early do I need to start pumping them up for the “hell no” speech? Does “you are worth the wait” mean the same to an 11-year-old and a 15-year-old? I really don’t know. Things were so different when I was a kid. Yes, some girls I knew did have sex and a couple got knocked up at 13-14. But those were the kids who were sort of “lost causes.” It’s becoming mainstream now, and I find it really scary.

  9. Laura says:

    I also think a different approach to all of this needs to happen. Schools are so bent on “making everything equal” that they’re looking past the fact that everything CAN’T be equal.

    you can’t tell a five year old all about the mechanics, difficulties, joys, risks and emotional involvement that is involved with sex and (1) expect him to pay attention beyond the second sentence, and (2) comprehend more than the second sentence. You CAN tell a five year old certain things about the reproductive process – heck, I’ve had to explain to Josh “what those horses are doing” when the stallion and mare are doing what they do out in our field. At this age, “they’re trying to make a baby horse” suffices. He hasn’t asked anything beyond that. If he did, I’d tell him, in as simple terms as I could. do I want to, at this age? Not particularly, but will I lie? No.

    However, the schools have become so politicized and so politically correct that they’re pushing more and more garbage on kids at younger and younger ages. Instead of stepping back and saying, “this (A,B,C) is the parent’s job. And this (D, E, F) is the school’s job”, they’re saying, “we don’t think the parents are capable of teaching ABC, so we will water down ABCDEF and give everybody everything.” And while they’re at it, we get condoms handed out to kindergartners because it’s politically correct, not morally or ethically correct.

    I’m rambling here, because the words are just coming SO fast…

    Bottom line: I don’t have a problem with teaching “sex ed” in an appropriate and age-aware manner. Five year olds don’t need to know all the “ins and outs” of sex, and it is NOT inappropriate to tell kids, starting around the age of puberty (which is getting younger and younger – let’s call it 10), that abstinence IS the best option. I’m not saying teach “abstinence only” – and frankly, I don’t think anyone besides the severely right-wing, ultra-religious movement (which is pretty tiny) is saying that. What I AM saying is, tell the kids the truth: Condoms fail. Birth control pills can fail, AND they can mess up your system. The ONLY reliable form of birth control is the word NO, and it should be used liberally.

    I have a problem wtih the handing of condoms by the schools more because of the subversion rather than the public-health aspect of it, and I’m willing to relent on higher ages.

    I just hope they’re not the same condoms that are distributed by Planned Parenthood, which had ridiculously high failure rate in a study done a couple years ago.

  10. Nikki says:

    Wow! Where do I start?!

    I have a 10 year old, as of next week. He just finished the 4th grade. One of his best friends, for the last 3 years just recently told him that he was having sex. Later that night, I talked to Bailey up in his room. I asked him if he felt comfortable talking to me about what he had told me earlier. He said, he was. So, I asked him if his friend had given him any details. He said that he hadn’t really. He knew what sex was, and his friend was having it now. I asked if he knew about any other kids his age having sex. He said, yes. Let me remind you, he was 9 this school year. Now I can’t say for sure, these kids are actually doing the deed, or lying about it. Because, lets face it, kids lie to make themselves look cooler. In my opinion, and it will absolutely be brought up the first of the new school year, either way, doing it or lying about doing it, is a problem. Now, once I bring this up to the school, if they decided to do what this school is doing, well lets just say I would be up there every single day demanding an explanation for such stupidity. I do think the subject needs to be discussed ASAP! Or like my sister in law said, we’re going to have some pregnant 6th graders on our hands. Not MY hands…their hands, but this is not a problem I want to see happen anywhere, certainly not in my town! It needs to be talked about sooner than 6th grade apparently but I find providing condoms, and talking to my CHILD without my knowledge is offensive. If kids this young ARE having sex, it needs to be stopped. It needs immediate attention. Providing condoms, is only saying that it’s okay. And it is clearly not okay.

    When they get into HS, I don’t think it’s a huge problem I would have. However, my kid will always know they can talk to me. And nothing he does, will ever make me not love him. Some, like myself, did not have that. I had my school counselor to talk to. And thankfully she helped me, and a lot of my friends out. That was high school. Not elementary school.

    I think if you aren’t having or thinking about having sex, a condom will not suddenly change your mind. Just want to put that out there. 🙂

    Parents need to be more involved in what their kids are doing. We need to talk to them, and we really need to stand up for what little rights we have left. Laws will be passed regardless of parents approval, obviously, but we don’t have to lie down and take it.

    • Nikki says:

      Oh and I also want to add…..this friend of my sons. This is happening when he goes to his dads house. His dad is a self proclaimed rapper, and is his kids best friend (if that tells ya anything.) I know his mom, and I can’t say she is actively interested in the kids life. So, you have one extreme to the other. Sadly, with this boy, it doesn’t surprise me (that he is doing it or lying about it) parents HAVE to be there…with open eyes, and arms. Why don’t some parents get that?! And parent first….not friend!!!!!! UGH!!!!

      • Laura says:

        It always amazes me that people don’t understand that if you are your child’s parent first… you will end up being his friend. Because he’ll realize that what you are doing, you are doing in HIS best interest. And he’ll realize that, no matter how ticked off you get at him (and he at you)… you’re always there. Sounds like a pretty good definition of “friend” to me.

        my parents are two of my best friends… because they were my parents FIRST.

  11. Jason says:

    The Biggest problem I think I had when I first heard this story the other night on the news was the fact that the schools don’t have to report to the parents when their children ask for these condoms. This might be fine if the kid is in high school, but for middle school or elementary school aged kids is just ridiculous. I think that if an elementary aged student is asking for condoms we have bigger problems than just the CHILD asking for condoms, why is this even a thought for someone that age. When I was that age the only thing on my mind was scooby-doo and teenage mutant ninja turtles. Also I think that if I were to be a taxpayer in this particular county I would be outraged that my tax money was being used to fund this project.

  12. Ellen says:

    Jason, I could not more agree with you. What are the people, who ordered this rule for the schools, thinking? Are they out of their minds? Elementary schools???? High School, I can agree with, but then only from 16 years old. I think 14 and 15 years old boys should not have the access to condoms that easy.
    If the schools want to invest money in this, then invest it in proper sexual education and emotional education. They are giving a sign if the child is under 16 years old that it is okay to ask another minor to go to bed with. Sorry, what is the matter with only holding hands, kissing at the backseats of a theater, while your older brother or sister is sitting a few rows away from you? I do know, children of the ages of 7 starts to feel some attraction to the other sexes, but that is and should be treated as something innocent and that it needs years to develop in something that is then the right time.

  13. SKL says:

    One more thought. If a young teen or younger kid is asking for a condom, it is reasonable to assume that child is having or planning to have sex. And this is a matter for child protective agencies. If a school employee believes a child is being beaten or deprived of food, they are REQUIRED to report this to the authorities. If they believe a child is/will be sexually active, why shouldn’t this requirement also kick in?

    Isn’t sex with someone under a certain age illegal in every state?

    • Joy says:

      That’s a very good point SKL. Is it still illegal if both kids are “underage?” Or is that one of those “if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it still make a noise?” Does it get overlooked unless one party is older?

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