Sexual education is not new to high school campuses. From curriculum in class involving sexual health, to screenings for sexual transmitted diseases, high school students are being exposed to the consequences of having unprotected sex. In September, we learned at the pilot program at several New York public schools, in which they gave the morning after pill to students in schools with high teenage pregnancy rates. Now Philadelphia schools are taking action to the STD “epidemic” among their high school students, by installing condom dispensers on 22 school campuses.
Over the past 5 years, 5% of the 130,000 students who attend Philadelphia public schools have contracted an STD, including HIV. It’s also been reported that in Philadelphia, teens make up 25% of new HIV infections. This has alarmed many parents and education officials, who decided that providing better access to contraceptives to students as young as 14. Parents were notified of the program in October, and were able to opt their child out of accessing the machines.
While Philly isn’t the first city to make condoms available, it is in a small percentage of schools who distribute them in “vending machines”. Many parents feel as though providing prophylactics encourages teen sex, while other adults believe students are going to engage in sex regardless of if protection is easily accessible or not.
“Discussion about whether or not they should be sexually active is an appropriate discussion, but if they are, then we need to make sure they’re engaged in safe sexual practices,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
BMWK – What are your thoughts? Is this a good idea or does it encourage kids to have sex before they are ready?