Boston High Schools May Soon Make Condoms Available and Provide More Sex Ed

The Boston School Committee is considering adopting a new policy that would add sexuality education and other health courses and make condoms available at all high schools in the city. The move to change these policies comes as the city is seeing high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially chlamydia, among teens. In 2012, there were 1,249 cases reported among 15- to 19-year-olds in Boston.

Currently the city’s schools are operating under a policy that was controversial when it was passed in 1994. It allows for condom availability only at the 19 schools that house school-based health centers (there are a total of 32 high schools in the city). At the time, Mayor Thomas M. Menino pushed for the policy out of a concern over rising HIV-infection rates among teenagers in the city. The policy passed despite staunch opposition from the previous mayor and the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

It has not been updated in nearly a decade, however, and many people in the city, including students, think it does not go far enough. According to the Boston Globe:

In the Fall of 2010 young people from the Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain launched an aggressive campaign to persuade school officials to offer free condoms in all high schools, and to increase the rigor and availability of sexual health education courses, which they said had been dropped from several schools because of budget cuts or MCAS [standardized test] prep.

In fact, only eight of the 32 high schools in the city currently offer sex education.

The school committee is now considering a number of these proposals. Under the suggested condom policy, students at all city schools would be able to receive condoms either from school staff, the Boston Public Health Commission, or a community health service partner. Any student receiving condoms would be given counseling on safer practices at the same time. Parents who do not want their children to receive condoms could opt out of the program.

This policy would be part of a larger health and wellness program, which would apply to all grade levels and include improved physical education classes, education about nutrition, bullying prevention programs, and sexuality education.

Members of the school committee seemed supportive of these changes, including condom availability, when they met at the beginning of the month. The committee’s chairman, Michael O’Neill, told the Globe, “Many members spoke positively about the comprehensiveness of the policy and acknowledged the reality our students face.” No one spoke out to oppose changing the policy.

The school committee is set to meet again on June 19.

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  • Jonathan Kuperberg

    Massachusetts liberals at it again. Kennedy, ’72 McGovernites, Dukakis, Kerry, Lawrence O’Donnell… when will this nonsense stop?

  • fiona64

    I know I’m a wee bit late to this party, but I found this particularly disturbing: In fact, only eight of the 32 high schools in the city currently offer sex education.

    Additional applications of broad-spectrum, comprehensive sex education are *especially* important at this stage of psychosocial/human development. Ignorant kids who don’t even understand how they a) get pregnant or b) are impregnating others, are the legacy of abstinence-only “education.”

    • Jonathan Kuperberg

      And one can understand the basic facts of life without high school “comprehensive sexuality ed”… the only reason for spending so much time on the subject is to mess with people’s values… the usual mind control/New Age bull.

      • fiona64

        That’s right, Jon. The only reason for sharing comprehensive, factually accurate information is to “mess with people’s values.” @@ <– Those are my eyes rolling.

        • Jonathan Kuperberg

          Except…I do not oppose sharing factually accurate sex-related information. Very, very few people do.

          I once saw a discussion between conservative Catholics and *extreme* Catholics (the type who say Vatican II is Satanic, non-Catholics are not true Christians and are Hellbound, and the Church was wrong to apologise for its past anti-Semitism) over Connie Marshner’s pro-Family sex education book Decent Exposure: the regular Religious Right folk were saying it should be used in the diocesan schools and the militants quoted a 1920s statement from a Papal document to say that any discussion of sex outside the home is an unacceptable occasion to lust and sin. Even on a hardline RC forum the “no sex ed at all” view wasn’t going down well.
          I oppose large parts of what SIECUS and pro-homosexual groups advocate as “comprehensive sexuality education” because it goes well beyond facts into pushing a political agenda.

          • fiona64

            So, merely stating that homosexuals exist and are just part of the population (like left-handed folk) is “pushing a political agenda.”

            Okay then.

          • Jonathan Kuperberg

            No, I am not against saying gays exist- or that they are to be treated with respect and not subjected to homophobic bullying. You know *exactly* what I’m talking about… just because you disagree doesn’t mean you need to be so snarky.