School district votes to allow teachers to give condoms to students without parental consent
GERVAIS, OR, June 4, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- A unanimous vote by a district school board will allow teachers to give students condoms from sixth grade and up without parental consent.
Citing concerns about district-wide teenage pregnancy rates, Marion County District School Board gave permission for some teachers to give condoms to children if a student asked for them. Superintendent Rick Hensel told local media that "the decision was made to allow some specified teachers to have condoms that they could distribute after a discussion with the student."
One board member, Molly McCargar, said the program “is great for parents. I’m a parent of four girls. The conversations have started and they will continue — unfortunately not all of our kids have that support at home."
According to Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis at the American Family Association, "condom distribution to sixth graders, with or without parental consent, is a perfectly terrible idea."
"Condom distribution will simply promote irresponsible sexual activity, which will lead to an increase in unwanted pregnancies and a spike in STDs," Fischer told LifeSiteNews, "since condoms do not provide protection against all STDs. HPV, for instance, is transmitted by skin to skin contact, and is the leading cause of ovarian cancer and infertility in women. Condoms don’t provide any protection against HPV whatsoever."
In the 2013-2014 school year, five percent of district students became pregnant. The board said that teachers who give out the condoms will be trained. Forty-two percent of Gervais High School students who responded to a survey about their sex practices said that they "never" or "sometimes" use a contraceptive.
While teen pregnancy across the nation and Oregon has dropped, black and Hispanic teen pregnancy rates are much higher than those of white teenagers. The Oregon Health Authority found that 58 percent of teen pregnancies in Marion County were to Hispanic girls. Nearly 70 percent of the population of Gervais is Hispanic.
According to Valerie Huber, President and CEO of the National Abstinence Education Association, "the posse of teachers armed and ready to distribute condoms during the school day paints the sad reality that this school has the priorities mixed." She told LifeSiteNews that, despite the district's concerns about teenage pregnancy, "among 15-17 year olds [in America], 72% of boys and 73% of girls have never had sexual intercourse."
Huber said that while "the majority of teens are not having sex, this school ignores this fact and instead normalizes risky behavior as it exchanges 'risk avoidance' for the still-risky 'risk reduction' message."
Fischer compared distribution of condoms to "Russian roulette” with regard to teen sexual health. He said that "parents not only should not be locked out of decisions like this, they should be in charge of such decisions.”
The district is claiming that constitutional concerns may prevent parental notification. Hensel did not return LifeSiteNews' call to clarify what, constitutionally, prevents schools from sharing student information with parents.