Social & Domestic Issues

Condoms for Children

Legal scholars and philosophers alike will be astonished to find that after decades of whether or not morality can be legislated, Provincetown School Committee took it upon itself to legislate immorality.

With a blatant disregard for parental rights and parental consent, the Provincetown, Mass., School Committee approved a policy that allows any pupil of any age to request and be provided with a condom.

After enormous public uproar the committee offered to adjust their policy to allow parents to opt their children out of the free condom program and limited it to 5th-12th grade students.

Despite the absurdity of the original and revised policy, the intent is quite clear: provide children a means to engage in sexual relations with fewer possible side effects, encouraging instead of protesting the sexuality of children. What is more puzzling is the double standard, for if any other adult gave a 10- year-old a condom, he would be charged with the corruption of a minor. Provided by the school board, however, it is a public health service.

While condoms might indeed prevent some pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, the more important question is whether or not children should be having sex just because they want to. The idea that a school board has any legitimate right to interfere in the parenting of children they are only supposed to be helping to learn readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic is exacerbated by their reasoning on the matter: “Children alone decide when they become sexually active, and we can’t control that, but we can ensure that when they’re making those decisions, there are caring adults and support present.’’

If school boards aim to assist every desire of youth, will they also provide cheat sheets or alcohol and drugs because children will just engage in these activities anyway?

Ironically, as Provincetown and other school boards fight to ensure condoms are free and readily available for children, we are simultaneously horrified as children at an average age of 14 and as young as 10 are sexually exploited.

How do we encourage the sexual activity of some children and remain sickened at the sexual exploitation of other children? Wouldn’t it be consistent, logical, and ethical to fight for the innocence of all children? But it’s hard to say no, especially when you are a kid and don’t understand the gravity of sex, the vulnerability involved, the consequences which last a lifetime, or what it means to lose your innocence.

Children are forever doing dumb things, for “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” And this is exactly why children need their parents to say no for them, standing in the gap saying, “Over my dead body. You are too young.” And of course: “Because I said so.”

Instead of handing our children over to the foolishness of youth with a state-funded piece of rubber as their only guardian, maybe we could take back the authority from the school boards who were never given such power in the first place.

The American public who understands that the law is as much a teacher as a protector, might have enough common sense to elect officials who know the difference between a child and an adult and recognize that handing a child a condom because you don’t want to put the effort into prevention isn’t love, it’s just plain lazy.


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