Matthew Hoffman


High school principal cancels plans to distribute condoms at prom following outcry

Matthew Hoffman

May 28, 2012 ( - A New York high school principal has decided to nix plans to make 500 free condoms available to participants at the school’s upcoming prom, following negative media coverage and objections from abstinence advocates.

Darryl Rascoe, Principal of Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant Preparatory school, was to accept the condoms from NV Healthcare, a manufacturer based in New York state, which has offered free condoms for all of the state’s high school proms. CBS News and the AP report that Bedford Stuyvesant Prep is the only school known to have accepted the offer.

“As they leave the prom, they are welcome to it,” Rascoe told the press. “We are not forcing it on anybody, but we want them to have that option.”

However, after several days of controversy, Rascoe backed down, telling ABC News that he wanted to avoid violating Education Department policy.

If Rascoe’s plan had been implemented, it would not have represented a deviation from the norm in New York City public schools, which distributed 680,000 condoms to students last year alone.

“The typical approach for addressing risk behaviors in teens is to provide information and skills that help them avoid the risk, as opposed to normalizing the behavior,” stated the National Abstinence Education Association a press communiqué. “This same protocol should be followed for teen sexual activity.”

“We are concerned that the distribution of condoms on school campuses further normalizes teen sex, underestimates the risks associated with sex, and overestimates the protection afforded by condoms. Many teens think that sex is ‘safe’ so long as they use a condom. The research shows this is not true.”

Ben Isascs of NV Healthcare claimed that distributing the condoms will not promote sex, and will keep teens “safe” if they do engage in it.

According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, condoms fail to protect users from HIV/AIDS ten percent of the time. The figure is similar for preventing pregnancy.


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