Free Condoms for 6th Graders: Totally Freaks Me Out, but Still a Great Idea

condomsMost parents (myself included) can't help but shudder at the idea of 11-year-old kids needing condoms. But if they do need them, isn't it better that they have them? That's what the San Francisco Board of Education thinks, which is why they've decided to make condoms available to middle schoolers. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, not everybody is particularly happy about this decision.


Condoms have been available to high school students in San Francisco since 1992, and I can only assume that move didn't go over too well with lots of moms and dads either, but this latest condoms-for-tweens update to the policy is what really has people up in arms.

"We’re talking about between 11 and 14 years old. And they are not ready for it, so I don’t think this is appropriate," one parent told ABC News in San Francisco, while another pointed out that parents have to sign permission slips for field trips -- but not condoms? 

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Okay, I guess that's kind of a valid point, but the issue isn't whether or not middle schoolers should be having sex, it's that if they are having sex, they should be safe. (Oh, and if they are indeed sexually active, chances are they're not gonna want to tell their parents about it, which pretty much renders that whole permission slip argument moot.)

So while of course the thought of their 12-year-old going to the school nurse and asking for a condom isn't a pleasant one for any parents, it's unfortunately a very realistic one. Pretending otherwise isn't going to prevent any teen pregnancies or reduce STI rates. In fact, the inverse is true: Research has shown that teens who received sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant (or to impregnate someone) than teens who did not receive sex education.

More from The Stir: Outraged Parents Protest Safe Sex Education After High School Prom

Or, as Kevin Gogin, director of safety and wellness, put it on the San Francisco Unified school district website:

"We want to engage students in discussions about their reproductive health so they are equipped to make healthy decisions. ... There is no research that supports providing condoms in schools increases sexual activity."

So basically, kids are going to be sexually active no matter what. And if that's the case, they need to be protected. But, let's face it: Even a tween who considers him- or herself mature enough to have sex most likely isn't anywhere near mature enough to walk into a CVS and buy a box of Trojans -- so isn't it better that there's a place these kids can get condoms for free?

I'm not saying I'd be happy to find those condoms in my middle schooler's backpack, because I'd honestly probably pass out. But hopefully upon coming to, I'd realize that at least my child was trying to be responsible. 

And then I'd pass out again.


Image via robertelyov/Flickr

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