Members of the school board of Provincetown, Massachusetts are suffering “shell shock” today after their decision to provide free condoms to all students in their school district, irregardless of age and without parental notification, sparked a national outcry.
Fox News is reporting that when the board passed the new rule on June 8, no one thought much about it. The advisory committee relied on studies showing that children were becoming sexually active at younger and younger ages and believed the correct response was to provide free condoms.
But all of that changed on Wednesday night when a local FOX affiliate in Boston ran a story about the policy entitled, “Condoms at School.” By Thursday morning, newspapers across the country were screaming with headlines about first graders being able to get condoms at schools on Cape Cod.
“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,” said the Massachusetts Family Institute in a statement released early yesterday morning.
“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.”
Kris Mineau, the Institute’s president, called the school board’s policy “absurd” and suggested parents file suit to overturn the policy.
The story quickly became the rage on Boston radio stations and before long, even the governor got involved.
Gov. Deval Patrick 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, Fox reports. The result of his call was a promise by school superintendent Beth Singer to “walk this back a bit.”
By 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Singer’s secretary said their offices were suffering “shell shock” from the barage of calls.
An hour later, School Committee Chairman Peter Grosso raised the white flag and told the Boston Globe they were “going to revisit” the rule.
“I guess the biggest thing [generating controversy] is that it’s for elementary school kids, but where do we draw the line?” Grosso asked..
Discussion will likely focus on setting a minimum age for eligibility, but he said there would still be access to condoms by elementary school children.
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