School board OKs condoms for middle-school children

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) —  The San Francisco Board of Education has unanimously approved a resolution to expand its Condom Availability Program to include all middle school students in the San Francisco Unified School District, according to Chief Communications Officer Gentle Blythe.

The proposal to expand the program was being recommended Tuesday night in San Francisco where the school board was deciding whether to give condoms to middle-school kids.

Middle school students in the district will have to meet with SFUSD nurses or social workers for education, assessment, and intervention, Blythe said. When they deem it appropriate, students will then get information about using condoms, along with the effectiveness and risks associated.

“We want to engage students in discussions about their reproductive health so they are equipped to make healthy decisions,” SFUSD Director of Safety and Wellness Kevin Gogin said. “We always attempt to engage parents in the discussion when appropriate, and we encourage students to do the same, but we know this isn’t always possible.”

Students will be told that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, Blythe said.

Health experts said that teens are having sex younger. And condoms are a safe choice.

But condoms in middle-school? Some parents were upset at the thought.

Educators contend it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sex. San Francisco high school kids KRON talked to have mixed feelings.

It was a hot button issue at the school board meeting.

The school district said it has been making condoms available in high school since 1992. And according to SFUSD’s biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, only 26 percent of high school students have had sex, which is under the national average of 46.8 percent, Blythe said.

“There is no research that supports providing condoms in schools increases sexual activity,” Gogin said.

Blythe said the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is in favor of the expansion.

“As the STD Controller in San Francisco, I know all too well that San Francisco has among the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis of any city in the United States. Further, adolescents and young adults are at increased risk for chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, when compared to adults,” said Dr. Susan Philip, who is the DPH Deputy Health Officer and Director, in a letter of support.

There will be no cost to the district for the condoms or educational materials, Blythe said. They will be provided by the SFDPH.

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