An Oregon school district is halting plans to make condoms available to children in grades six through twelve as more research is conducted into the controversial distribution policy.
The Gervais School District in Gervais, Oregon, recently voted in favor of having trained teachers offer condoms to children after first speaking with them — presumably about safe sex.
The district’s board of directors green-lighted the plan back in May, but a fall 2014 implementation has now been postponed after superintendent Matt Henry voiced some concerns, according to the Statesman Journal.
At the heart of the matter is the notion that teachers and not trained health care professionals would be giving condoms out — something that Henry said would make the Gervais School District the only district in Oregon to put such a responsibility on educators.
The Statesman Journal reported that the board agreed with Henry that delaying the decision and bringing in an expert to advise officials would be key to helping find a solution to the district’s growing teen sex and pregnancy problem, though they made it clear that something must be done.
Mike Solem, principal of Gervais High School, also told the board at a recent meeting that his school isn’t ready to start giving out condoms in the fall and that students had already been asking teachers and “beating down” their doors for access to condoms when the district’s plans first went public.
The controversial condom plan was crafted in response to a rash of student pregnancies in the district. Nine girls became pregnant during the last school year, so officials have been looking for solutions to curbing the problem, according to USA Today.
An earlier report in the Statesman Journal cited a June meeting during which parents shared a plethora of opinions on the condom plan. Some said that it was inappropriate for the district to focus on handing condoms out and that abstinence education would be more appropriate.
One parent, though, said he didn’t oppose the policy, but that he wanted to be notified if condoms were handed out to his children.
“Don’t go just handing them out,” said Fortino Olea, a father of three kids in the district. “I’d like to know if my son is sexually active.”
Proposals to fix the problem emerged after nursing interns from Oregon Health and Science University presented a study that found that 7 percent of girls in the district’s high school had become pregnant and that sexually active youths weren’t using protection, USA Today reported.
(H/T: Statesman Journal)