One parent reacts: 'Oh my God ... they are kids.'
- THE BLAZE - JULY 6, 2021 - DAVE URBANSKI -
Students as young as the fifth grade will have access to condoms in Chicago elementary schools when they reopen in late August, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
What are the details?
The Chicago Public Schools policy states that schools teaching fifth grade and up must maintain a condom availability program as part of an expanded vision of sexual health education, the Sun-Times said, adding that more than 600 CPS schools will end up having them, save for a dozen that enroll only younger grades.
"Young people have the right to accurate and clear information to make healthy decisions," Kenneth Fox — CPS' chief health officer and a pediatrician of 30 years — told the paper. "And they need access to resources to protect their health and the health of others as they act on those decisions."
Fox added to the Sun-Times that school officials want to "make condoms available to students for if and when they think they need them … When you don't have those protections and don't make those resources available then bad stuff happens to young people. You have elevated risks of sexually transmitted infections, of unintended pregnancies, and that's very preventable stuff."
More from the paper:
To start, elementary schools will get 250 condoms and high schools — many of which already make them available — will get 1,000. The Chicago Department of Public Health will provide the condoms at no cost to the district as part of the city's effort to prevent teen pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. When a school runs out, principals will be told to request more from CPS and CDPH. Schools will get a letter from Fox explaining the policy to parents, and principals will receive guidance for where to store the condoms and how to operate the program. The condoms should be in easily accessible locations in the school while also not too out in the open so there's still privacy for students, Fox said.
"I would expect that not everybody is going to be completely on board right from the start, but I do think society has changed," Fox added to the Sun-Times.
Why so young?
The paper said it asked Fox why fifth grade is a threshold, and he replied that it's "informed by a developmental understanding of children."
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