Student Access to Condoms Proposed in Rochester, N.Y.
November 1, 2011
Condoms could become available to high school students under a comprehensive AIDS education program proposed by the Rochester School District Board of Education (BOE). Parents and guardians would have an opt-out option if they did not wish their children to participate in part of the program, including access to condoms.
Recognizing the "profound implications that these issues have for parents and students," BOE on Friday posted the draft proposal on its website and will consider public feedback while deliberating the policy during the next several months. The draft was adopted by BOE's policy committee after a series of community forums that began last March.
Officials with the Monroe County Department of Public Health and Metro Council for Teen Potential suggested steps BOE could take to help teens avoid STDs and unplanned pregnancies. Condom access in schools came up during that discussion. Nearly 50 percent of Monroe County HIV cases reported in 2010 were younger than age 25, and seven were ages 13-19.
Under the BOE proposal, AIDS education would be required for grades K-12 under the health curriculum. An advisory council, including representatives of religious organizations, would be responsible for program content.
Parents could exempt their children from portions that cover methods of HIV/AIDS prevention by filing a request with the superintendent. Condoms would be available through school-based health clinics or nurse's offices only to students who had received AIDS education. Parents and guardians would be notified by mail no later than each Aug. 1 about the condom access program and the opt-out procedure.
Instruction "shall emphasize that abstinence is the best method to protect oneself from [STDs,]" the policy guidelines state.
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
10.29.2011; Leo Roth
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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