Skip to comments.Milwaukee Public Schools to Discuss Providing Condoms to Students
Posted on 12/03/2009 7:00:16 AM PST by Joy in the Journey
Milwaukee Public Schools' health officials want to make condoms freely available to students in many of the district's high schools, as part of an effort to combat the health risks that sexually transmitted infections and other communicable diseases pose to young people.
If the proposal wins the support of the School Board, the new policy could take effect as early as next school year, making MPS one of a few districts in the nation that provide contraception to students.
Kathleen Murphy, the district's health coordinator, said that data continues to show that middle and high school students are engaging in sex frequently and at younger ages, and that youth - especially those of color - are disproportionately affected when it comes to sexually transmitted infections.
"These are life-threatening illnesses for young people, and they're already reporting to us that they're having sex," said Murphy. "The question is, do we have the ability to help delay and deter the lifelong health consequences of the conduct that they're already doing?"
But allowing students to obtain contraception at school can be controversial. The leader of one local group that supports abstinence education in schools has already said she's against the idea.
Sally Ladke, executive director of the Wisconsin Abstinence Coalition, said that a comprehensive medical exam, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and a full report of a student's medical and family history should be required before any school offered a student contraception.
"If they're already sexually active, use this as an opportunity to treat the STD they may have already," Ladke said. "Let's have counseling with the kids. This should be done in careful consultation with a doctor."
According to data the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a few months ago, Murphy said, the United States has the highest rate of sexually transmitted infection of any developed country, and African-American females 15 through 19 have the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Another recent CDC survey reported that one in four teen girls has had a sexually transmitted disease.
Also, more than 60% of high school students in MPS are sexually active, according to the district's 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
On the survey, which was administered to middle- and high-school students last spring, 63.1% of high schoolers reported having had sexual intercourse. When the survey was administered in 2003, just under 60% of students reported having had sex.
Reported condom usage among sexually active teenagers has changed significantly from 2003 to 2009, however. In 2003, 70.5% of sexually active students reported using a condom. In 2009, only 66.2% of high schoolers having sex said they were using a condom. Key role for nurses
The School Board would ultimately have to work out the details of what the district health officials call a "communicable disease prevention program," but Murphy envisions it could work like this:
The condoms would be available only in high schools with nurses, and a student would have to talk to a nurse before he or she could obtain contraception.
Students may be able to obtain up to two condoms, which would be accompanied by literature about sexually transmitted infections, and other "youth friendly" material about the risks of sexual activity, Murphy said.
"We really want to make sure it's not just the provision of a condom, but an opportunity for a student to have a conversation with a qualified health professional," Murphy said. "The goal is not to have the nurse be a barrier. I don't envision students having to make an appointment."
Murphy said the cost of the program would be fairly minimal, and that funding for the contraception would come from nondistrict sources.
"We want our students to be abstinent," said Brett Fuller, a health curriculum specialist for MPS. "But when they make the choice (to have sex), they need to have the tools and understanding on how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That's why we have a comprehensive sex education program."
Other places, such as Philadelphia and New York, have experimented with offering free contraception in high schools.
Susan Wooley, executive director of the American School Health Association, said common concerns about the practice include whether parental consent is required, whether students can be anonymous in obtaining condoms, and whether the record of obtaining contraception would enter into the student's health record or academic files.
Also, Wooley said, some people are concerned that offering contraception in schools will encourage sexual activity.
"Most of the research that has been done in sexuality education has shown that it does increase the use of contraception, but not the rate of being sexually active," Wooley said.
Murphy added that she didn't expect students in MPS would have to obtain parental consent because state and federal laws allow them to receive contraception and pregnancy testing in outside clinics without parental consent.
She also said that she didn't envision that receiving contraception would enter into their school or medical record.
The School Board's Innovation/School Reform Committee will take up the issue at its meeting on Tuesday.
Terry Falk, vice chairman of the committee, said the proposal is not about "handing out condoms like candy."
"What we're hoping for is that students who come in for these will walk away with a larger discussion about their sexual activity and, in some cases, we may find out where there are problems in their lives over and above the use of condoms," Falk said.
"We're hoping that the end result will be less sexual activity rather than more if this is done right."
"We're hoping that the end result will be less sexual activity rather than more if this is done right."
Offering "advice" from school personnel is not a great way to reach them...
Not the public schools place to enforce or even do such.
This country is so fraked.
LOL. The saddest part is, it sounds like they believe it...
The children of this country need their parents (yes plural) to grab them by the scruff of the neck and give them a good shake. It is time to stop teaching them to give in to animal instincts and teach them what seperates us from the animals. One of the most important is the ability to use reason, logic, and applied knowledge in decision making, not covering up their apparatus while out of control. Just, dang..........
“Students may be able to obtain up to two condoms, which would be accompanied by literature about sexually transmitted infections, and other “youth friendly” material about the risks of sexual activity, Murphy said.”
Two condoms, that should solve everything! ;-)
Yeah, that’ll work....
I’ve got an idea.
Why don’t they teach them instead how to make change?
I can think of about 500 restaurants and retail stores who might actually hire the graduates, then!
No way in hell my daughter is going into one of those holding pens for juvenile delinquents.
How about we require that from the school board and the school administration first.
Evacuate the government schools. Fast. Private school or home-school.
Handing out condoms is easier than teaching moral and responsible behavior.
The welfare state is a farce, underclass advocate nazis, emotionally drained, wrecked and sometimes psychopath white libs and poorly educated charges has not worked, nor will anything remotely good come of it.
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The Left’s faith in sexular humanism (man as god) should not trump the rights of those of other belief systems.
Condoms in schools was never about preventing AIDS. It was about forever ending the argument of IF teens should be having sex and shifted the discussion to “when”.
The Sex Positive Agenda sees sexual pleasure as a birthright to be enjoyed by everyone at every age with no moral judgements. And our government and hospitals and centers of education fund it through a dozen different names (look at sites with “information links” tied to Planned Parenthood, SEICUS, and other sex positive proponents).
I suggest they also provide them with alcohol, drugs, and a party barn.
woo hoo /sarc
and that youth - especially those of color - are disproportionately affected when it comes to sexually transmitted infections.
Kathleen Murphy is an idiot!
What? Do black youth have different immunity? Do germ like black bodies better?
No, Kathleen, all youth have the SAME likelihood of being infected if EXPOSED to germs!
Maybe, Kathleen, the children should be in schools that teach youngsters not to get into situations where they might expose themselves to these infections. But...That would require teaching morals and ethics and I am sure you and your fellow Marxists feel religion is more deadly than AIDS. Also...It would threaten you sinecures since the **best** place to teach effective religious morals and ethics is in a PRIVATE school!
As a parent, I would be livid. This is not the school’s place.
The parents are in their 20s and 30s and have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the Marxist dialects of relativism and entitlement. The parents are uttering incapable of discerning good from evil themselves. Their teachers are also in their 20s and 30s and products themselves of the same government K-12 indoctrination.
It's like asking blind people to be seeing eye dogs by using their own gouged out eyes.
Honestly...When are conservatives going to wake up?
Conservatives must, must, must, wake up to the fact that reforming the government schools is impossible! They have always been a socialist idea. Government schools are (to the core) socialism. The Utopian reformers and industrialist who pushed for government K-12 schools in the mid to late 1800s always had as its goal the production of mind-numbed, compliant, workers for the fascist state. It took 2 to 3 generations but by the 1960s they were succeeding admirably!
Conservatives MUST set up education foundations that would award grants to teachers willing to open tuition-free one room schools. The foundations would certify the teacher, approve the curriculum, inspect the schools, and test the students. The foundations would also pull the rug out from under the government monopoly on team sports, theater, and arts, by providing community-wide teams and arts programs for their private students.
I don't like giving anything away for free, but initially conservatives must do this because they have to match the price charged by the price-fixed monopoly government schools. But...At least the children would be taught gratitude by accepting a free conservative education. With government school free tuition they are taught that they are entitled to other people's money.
Why bother with the condom phase?
Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are on their way into the public schools, under Obamacare. Let’s just move straight to abortions. Which will, of course, increase when the school fully legitimizes premarital sex by giving out condoms.
And... Will teachers be allowed to have sex with students, if they use a condom handed out by the school nurse? And if they are in a committed, loving, relationship?