San Francisco schools may soon start distributing condoms to students in middle schools – or to those who want them anyway. A final vote by the school board is scheduled to take place in the next two weeks.
Imagine your 11-year-old son or daughter walking into the school nurse’s office and walking out with condoms! Perhaps the school district expects parents to be reassured by the fact that students would also have a one-on-one information session with the nurse.
The proposed new policy was introduced by Superintendent Richard Carranza to the Board of Education, as “part of an overall effort by the district to further prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy among minors,” according to the San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco schools already have a Condom Availability Program for high school students. The revised policy, if approved, would not only expand the program into middle schools, it would eliminate the “opt out” choice for parents of both high school and middle school students.
So the school nurse might know that your 6th grader is engaging in sexual intercourse and you wouldn’t. And the school nurse would have the right to give your child condoms and you’d have no say in the matter.
First of all, if educators in San Francisco or anywhere else were truly serious about making an effort to prevent STD’s and pregnancy among minors, they wouldn’t be proposing handing out condoms. They’d deal with sex as a health issue. No school is going to tell kids, for example, that if they’re going to smoke they should smoke low-tar cigarettes. Or hand out Tylenol for hangovers in case students drink too much. Or adopt a “they’re going to do it anyway” attitude about drugs. But that’s exactly what they do when they hand out condoms.
Dr. Miriam Grossman, in her book “You’re Teaching My Child What? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child,” writes that it’s time to declare war on teen sexual behavior. “Yes, war – just as we’ve declared war on smoking, drinking and transfats.” Just consider some statistics from the Centers for Disease Control on STD’s. Every year there are ten million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases among young people ages 15 to 24. As of 2008, one in four teenagers had an STD. We know that the most commonly transmitted STD, human papillomavirus or HPV, can cause cancer of the head and neck. And while condoms can reduce the risk of the transmission of HPV and other STD’s, they don’t offer 100% protection.
Why are we willing to advise teens to “Just Say No” to drugs – for the sake of their health and safety – but we’re not willing to do the same when it comes to sex?
Catholics and other parents of faith who are trying to promote chastity before marriage are already fighting an uphill battle with the culture. The last thing we need is to establish a social norm of middle-schoolers having sex. Schools that take a “they’re going to do it anyway” attitude about 11-year-olds having sex have got it wrong. It may not be a moral issue for public school educators, but it shouldbe a matter of public health. To say nothing of common sense.