“According to a national survey of high school youth, Philadelphia has the highest number of youth who have been sexually active, the highest number who became sexually active before age thirteen, and the highest number of youth who have had four or more sexual partners. Yet we have one of the lowest numbers of youth who report using a condom,”
So you may have heard about one of the plans to stop the spread of STDs that has the city placing free condom dispensers in one third of its public high schools. This comes on the heels of a reported slight decrease in the STD rates after the city of Philadelphia handed out four million free condoms. (The "free" condoms are paid for with money from the Federal government.)
In schools, the condom distribution program was initially handled through the nurse's office. However, not every school in the Philadelphia system has a full time nurse on duty, so the machines will make condoms available to students in those schools.
Some parents are not happy about the free condoms. The schools countered the parental objections by offering an "opt out" option. Parents just need to send a note to the schools. But the schools don't seem to be too interested in the parents' wishes. According to a story in the Daily Mail, schools seem to look the other way when a student wants to defy the wishes of a parent.
"Opt-out letters are to be maintained by the school office," Assistant Superintendent Dennis W. Creedon wrote in a letter to school health officials. "Students are to honor the wishes of their parents. If a student disrespects their guardian's directive, that is an issue of the home."
Philadelphia's mayor Michael Nutter is strongly behind the program. His statement:
"Discussion about whether or not they should be sexually active is an appropriate discussion, but if they are, then we need to make sure they're engaged in safe sexual practices."
Where do you stand on the issue of free condoms in public schools? Join the conversation in our comments section and take our Blaze Poll.