Condom Access Policy to Be Detailed by Springfield School District
During the next two weeks, the Springfield School Department will be contacting parents by letter and telephone to explain a new condom distribution program and to inform them they can opt their children out of it. The distribution is part of the new “Comprehensive Reproductive Health Policy,” approved in a 4-3 April vote by the School Committee, which seeks to reduce teen pregnancy and STDs.
Under the program, starting Sept. 1, condoms will be available for students age 12 and older from school nurses. “School nurses will educate eligible students on abstinence, faithfulness, STI/HIV, pregnancy, and storage and usage of condoms,” the policy states. “Eligible students will be able to ask questions which will be answered factually and in an age-appropriate matter.”
According to Helen R. Caulton-Harris, the city’s director of health and human services, each student will have access to one condom per visit, with no limit on the number of visits.
Caulton-Harris added, “We are using all forms of communication to make sure parents are aware of this policy. We strongly believe that parents are our partner in implementing this policy.” Details also will be included in the student-parent handbook given out the first week of school, said Azell Cavaan, director of communications for the Springfield Public Schools.
“Obviously our hope has been that we decrease the teen birth rate in the city of Springfield, and we increase the high school graduation rates,” Caulton-Harris said. “We believe those two factors are tied together.”
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