Opinion Brief

Free condoms... for 12-year-olds?

A Massachusetts school district plans to give middle schoolers prophylactics and a sex-ed lecture. Many parents are less than pleased

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"

Recommended

Did Dry January accomplish anything?
Drinking glasses.
Picture of Harold MaassHarold Maass

Did Dry January accomplish anything?

6 amazing homes with domes
House
Feature

6 amazing homes with domes

The Check-In: 48 hours in San Diego, a long-awaited river cruise, and more
A surfer at Windansea Beach in La Jolla.
Feature

The Check-In: 48 hours in San Diego, a long-awaited river cruise, and more

The Week contest: AI pizza
Paris's first robotic pizzeria.
Feature

The Week contest: AI pizza

Most Popular

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained
Hogwarts Legacy logo photo
Briefing

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained

Boeing to deliver its final 747 plane, bringing an end to the world's most iconic jet
The final Boeing 747 during its rollout.
Farewell, 747

Boeing to deliver its final 747 plane, bringing an end to the world's most iconic jet

5 toons about egg prices
Editorial Cartoon
Feature

5 toons about egg prices