San Francisco’s public schools leaders are considering distributing condoms at middle schools.
The policy change, introduced by San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza to the Board of Education earlier this month, is part of an overall effort by the district to further prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy among minors. The board’s augmented curriculum and program committee is scheduled to discuss the proposal today.
The board first adopted a policy to distribute condoms at high schools in 1991, and in 1996 the board amended the district’s condom distribution program to allow parents to opt out or exclude their child from the program.
In addition to supplying condoms at middle schools, the superintendent’s recommended changes include eliminating the exemption option for parents, according to the proposal introduced at the Jan. 12 board meeting. Parents would still be notified annually about the program.
Condoms are provided to the schools from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and are packaged with educational and instructional materials. Middle school students would need to meet with a school social worker or district nurse before receiving condoms.
Commissioner Rachel Norton, who is a member of the committee that will discuss the issue today, said that while she has questions about the proposed changes, she’s inclined to support making condoms more widely available to students if it encourages them to practice safer sex.
“I think that to the extent that our Healthy Kids Survey finds that kids are actually engaging in sexual behavior in middle school, then we want to make sure that they’re as safe as they can be, and as well-educated as they can be about the implications of that,” Norton said.