The Gervais School District in Marion County, Ore. is raising eyebrows after its school board announced it will allow some teachers to make condoms available to students as young as sixth graders (Getty Images via ABC News).
GERVAIS, Ore. (WRIC) -
The Gervais School District in Marion County, Ore. is raising eyebrows after its school board announced it will allow some teachers to make condoms available to students as young as sixth graders, according to our ABC affiliate KATU in Portland, Ore.
Superintendent Rick Hensel says the new policy is in response to the fact that a total of nine girls—roughly 5 percent of the female students in grades six through 12—got pregnant this year.
“It’s an attempt to change the rate of teen pregnancy,” Hensel told KATU.
Some families in the Gervais School District support the move that will make condoms available for their children.
“As long as they’re getting a further education on it, that’s better,” Adam Gonzales told KATU.
Many parents, however, are appalled that the contraceptives could be distributed to children beginning in the sixth grade.
Parent Alyson Ferrens told KATU, “I think it’s each parent’s responsibility to educate their children.”
Hensel noted one of the reasons the condoms will become available to middle school students is that the middle school is located just 40 feet away from the high school, and that the policy would therefore have eventually expanded to the middle school anyway. Still, he stressed that the district’s sex education classes will tout abstinence as the only 100-percent safe method for students to practice.
Hensel told KATU he knew the school board’s decision “was going to be a positive thing for this community, albeit controversial, but a positive thing,” adding that students requesting condoms will have to speak to a trained professional, like a counselor, health teacher or nurse.
The policy will go in effect during the 2014-2015 academic year.