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Condoms to be distributed freely at all Boston high schools

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

With little opposition, the Boston School Committee approved measure to provide prophylactics at all Boston high schools. A key feature in a new comprehensive health and wellness policy, the approval of condom distribution marks a highly dramatic shift in practice for the city's public schools system.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Only a limited number of high schools previously, which had health centers, could hand out condoms. Students will now be able to receive them at any of the approximately three dozen high schools either from a community health service partner, the Boston Public Health Commission or from appropriate staff.

Students will also receive counseling about safe sex practices before obtaining the contraceptives. Parents will still have the right to exempt their children.

City Councilor Ayanna applauded the decision. "I'm elated," Pressley said. Testifying during the meeting, she has long pushed for comprehensive sexual health education in all high schools and making condoms available to high school students. "It's a long time coming."

None of the School Committee members addressed condom availability before the vote. The policy change had wide support from students, public health advocates, and educators, and generated little, if any, public opposition.

"I've been working on this for 15 years," Barbara Huscher, a retired Boston public school health education director said. Donning a hat that looked like the tip of a condom after the vote and posing for pictures, Huscher noted that "They have the option to be safe now."

The new policy replaces one adopted in the early 1990s, as the AIDS crisis gripped the nation. The decision appeared to be a compromise after repeated attempts through the years to make the contraceptives available in all high schools failed to win school board support.

The issue at that time was highly volatile with the Archdiocese of Boston, and Mayor Raymond L. Flynn strongly opposed the measure. Newly elected Mayor Thomas M. Menino helped to get the compromise approved.

In another decision, no opposition emerged on the issue of tightening background checks on employees, which the School Committee passed unanimously.

The issue of condoms in schools has long been a flashpoint in the nation's ongoing battle over sexual morality. One voice in particular, Dr. Robert L. Simonds, founder of Citizens for Excellence in Education, is steadfastly opposed to the idea.

"Sexologists and psycho-heresy mind manipulators (so-called experts) are not experts at all.They promote immorality instead of what could otherwise be good sex-education programs . Not only would they like to destroy families, but the entire human race, with such ideas - irrational, sick ideas that our schools often go along with.Remember, it strongly appears we are dealing with hard-line atheists, incapable of reason or morality," Simonds says.

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