Starting in September, the small, seaside town of Provincetown, Massachusetts, will give a condom to any student in grades 1 through 12 who asks for one — but only if they listen to a “birds and the bees” talk first. The condom policy also dictates that parents cannot tell the school not to give their child a condom if he or she requests one. That, I think, will piss parents off. But I believe that’s the right thing to do: it shows a strong message that the school system is serious about teaching kids to take responsibility for themselves. Better to have one on hand and to know how to use it properly if the event should happen, right? And let’s not kid ourselves: it happens. (I lost my virginity just after turning 17 and I had been in possession condoms, dental dams and flavored lube from my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club since I was about 14.)
Abstinence-only sex education, on the other hand, does not teach youngsters about how to protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs. And it doesn’t even work! According to The Washington Post, national study of 2,000 children who were followed from elementary school to high school found that those who had abstinence-only sex ed were not less likely to have sex or to use a condom when they did have sex.
The Provincetown school superintendent said the youngest children won’t even be interested in acquiring a condom, which is surely true. Most youngsters don’t even know, or care, what “condom” means, because they’re more interested in LEGOs and “Hannah Montana.” But middle schoolers and high schoolers? I’d be fine with condoms being given to my future kids if keeps them healthy and on-track for college or their choice of career.