School officials in Springfield, Mass., are trying a new approach to tackle their district's high pregnancy rate: Handing out free condoms to students age 12 and up. Health officials applaud the program, which is nearing formal approval, and Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno calls it a "smart move." But dissenting Springfield School Committee member Peter Murphy says giving 12-year-olds condoms is "inappropriate" and "illegal," since 12 is below the age of consent in the state. Is this sending tweens the wrong message about sex?
This is wrong for so many reasons: Passing out condoms to middle-school kids is crazy, says Deborah Cruz at The Stir. "It's a license to be promiscuous and experiment sexually. At 12. Fantastic." Not only that, but it is "a damn infringement of parental rights." Really, "what's next? Free abortion clinics operating out of the gymnasium?"
"Free condoms for middle school kids is just plain INSANE"
Actually, it's a great idea: This policy "sounds pretty beneficial on all counts," says Danielle Sullivan at Babble. "Any parents who do not feel comfortable with the plan" can tell the school not to give their kids condoms. And students will get sex-ed counseling before they're given prophylactics. Educators are simply accepting the reality that many teens, and even pre-teens, are having sex already, and telling them that if they are sexually active, "using condoms is the right thing to do."
"Free condoms for 12-year-olds? One school district says yes"
Giving teens condoms doesn't mean they'll use them: This is an understandable move for school officials fed up with the consequences of "unstoppable rampaging teen hormones," says Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel. But this plan might not last long enough to lead to the health benefits proponents want, nor the corruption of morals opponents fear. In fact, I bet the district scraps the idea the moment the first teacher "gets pee from a urine-filled condom balloon on her shoes."
"Groundbreaking school to make kids' free condom dreams come true"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How to make corn dogs
Subscribe to the Week