School board ‘completely shocks’ parents by announcing condom handouts to sixth graders

An Oregon school district worried about  teen pregnancies is allowing teachers to distribute condoms to students – beginning with sixth-graders.

condoms0531newerAnd some parents aren’t happy about the idea that their children, as young as 12 years old, will be getting that kind of lesson away from home.

“I just disagree with it. I don’t think elementary kids should be around it,” parent Kim Hults told KOIN, the local CBS affiliate.  “I just disagree with it.”

“I really haven’t had time to process it, but I don’t know how I feel,” parent  Alyson Farrens told KGW, NewsChannel 8 in Portland.  “Somebody talking to my children and giving them a condom, at that age, I don’t know.”

But Gervais School District officials think it’s appropriate in a district so small it includes only four schools with about 1,000 students — in an elementary, middle, and high school with one alternative school.

It also has had nine girls get pregnant last year, including one middle school student.

Distribution will be supervised, Superintendent Rick Hensel told KOIN, so  it’s not like the condoms were being left in a bowl in the school nurse’s office where anyone could pick one up.

“If they wanted a condom, they would have to meet with a teacher — a designated teacher, the sex ed teacher, or some of our counselors and maybe some administrators. So there would be designated people for students to have a conversation with and then a condom would be distributed at that time,” he said.

That’s a relief. Wouldn’t want 12-year-olds just getting hold of condoms willy-nilly, right?

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School board member Molly McCargar sounds like she couldn’t be happier.

“It is great for parents. I’m a parent of four girls. The conversations have started and they will continue — unfortunately not all of our kids have that support at home,” McCargar told KOIN.

Maybe they don’t have that support because their parents don’t want them having sex – with or without a condom. And maybe that’s a decision parents think they should be the ones making without the local gym coach lending a hand.

According to KOIN, the parents are unlikely to be notified their children are getting condoms because of privacy considerations.

Check out the KGW coverage here.

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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