Middle school condom distribution faces opposition as vote draws near

A proposal that would allow middle schools to distribute condoms to students will come to a vote at the San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Education meeting tonight.

The proposed policy, which was introduced by Superintendent Richard Carranza at a Jan. 12 board meeting, would make condoms available to students in San Francisco’s middle school wellness centers. Condoms are already distributed in public high schools in The City.

The vote was delayed earlier this month after Josephine Zhao, vice president of the Chinese American Democratic Club and the mother of a middle school girl, wrote to the district with concerns but was unable to attend the Feb. 9 board meeting because of the Lunar New Year.

Zhao said she is concerned that increasing students’ access to condoms ignores the cultural perspective on sex education in Asian­-
American communities and alienates parents from the conversation about sex with their children.

“I think that the parents in the community don’t feel right about the prospect,” Zhao said. “For the Chinese and Asian communities, they feel like it’s a little shocking and unnecessary.”

The proposal also updates language in the policy to clarify that parents cannot opt their kids out of the condom distribution program. That would bring the policy into compliance with state law, which allows a minor to consent to medical care related to preventing or treating a pregnancy.

“We hope that the school district will rethink the policy-­making process and will delay the condom policy,” Zhao said. “They don’t have to vote [Tuesday night].”