The school board in Provincetown, Massachusetts, had decided to provide free condoms to all students in the district without taking the concurrence of parents, causing a huge controversy.
The decision had been voted unanimously on June 8 and no one had objected to it, Beth Singer, the school superintendent said.
AdvertisementBut when a Fox station in Boston ran a story on June 24 titled "Condoms at School", everything changed.
The Massachusetts Family Institute hastily issued a statement about first graders having access to condoms, and parents being forced to agree to it.
"Making condoms available to first graders bullies parents to submit to an agenda that promotes sexual promiscuity to innocent children at their most vulnerable age," Fox News quoted the statement as reading.
"The Provincetown school committee's decision to force this radical and absurd policy demonstrates the lengths to which some will go to emasculate parents' rights and undermine the notion of encouraging children to delay sexual activity," it stated.
Kris Mineau, the Institute's president, called the school board's policy "absurd" and suggested parents file suit to overturn the policy.
After that calls began pouring in, in opposition to the policy, which requires students to request the condoms from the school nurse, who will also provide counselling and information on birth control, including abstinence.
The nurse can also deny condoms to students for many reasons, including age.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who is running for re-election against two conservative candidates in November, called to complain about the lack of an age limit and the school's decision not to tell parents about any requests students may make, even though, he admitted, it was a local issue.
He announced that Singer promised to "walk this back a bit".
"I guess the biggest thing [generating controversy] is that it's for elementary school kids, but where do we draw the line?" School Committee Chairman Peter Grosso told the Boston Globe.
"We're going to revisit it," he stated.
He said discussion would likely centre around setting a minimum age for eligibility. But he promised that there would be some access for elementary school kids.
Singer said that she "knew the policy wouldn't work in every school district around the country, but that in Provincetown it's the correct policy in order to protect kids".
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