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SFUSD board OK’s distribution of condoms at middle schools

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The Wellness Center at Willie Brown Middle School. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco’s public middle schools will begin distributing condoms to students as part of a policy change approved by the Board of Education Tuesday night.

After delaying the vote earlier this month, the board unanimously supported the proposal introduced Jan. 12 by San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza to allow middle schools to dispense condoms to students after they meet with a nurse or social worker.

The proposal was first reported by the San Francisco Examiner.

In addition to supplying condoms at middle schools, the board also voted to update the language of the district’s condom distribution policy to clarify that parents cannot opt their kids out of the condom distribution program. That brings the policy into compliance with state law, which allows a minor to consent to medical care related to preventing or treating a pregnancy.

Public high schools in The City have distributed condoms for more than two decades, and school districts in Oakland and Los Angeles already have similar policies to distribute condoms in middle schools.

SFUSD leaders have been exploring the idea of distributing condoms in middle schools for several years at the recommendation of public health officials and school nurses, who noticed students are increasingly sexually active at a younger age, Kevin Gogin, director of safety and wellness for the SFUSD’s Student, Family and Community Support Department, previously told the San Francisco Examiner.

In fact, a student survey conducted last year found that 5 percent of middle school students in San Francisco’s public schools are sexually active.

“We have students who are sexually active, and we have students in middle school who are considering being sexually active, and we know that getting someone to talk to about this [is important], and we believe that we have the appropriate staff to have those conversations with them,” Gogin said.

Condoms are provided to the schools from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and are packaged with educational and instructional materials.