SF committee to discuss handing out condoms to middle schoolers

Lyanne Melendez Image
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
SF committee to discuss handing out condoms to middle schoolers
A policy committee inside the San Francisco Unified School District will discuss if condoms should be made available to students as young as the 6th grade.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There is a hot debate over a serious issue in San Francisco where schools could soon make condoms available to students as young as sixth grade. A committee will discuss this proposal on Monday night before a vote by the full board.

The curriculum and program committee will discuss it; it's not a done deal and they can add or delete before even taking it before the board.

San Francisco would not be the first in the nation to do this. In 2014, Oakland Unified passed it. It is now offered to middle school students through their health centers and soon to all their middle schools.

San Francisco Unified says a recent survey revealed 5 percent of their students in middle school say they have had sex.

If you doubt that someone that young could be sexually active, ask the director of the Third Street Youth Center and Clinic in San Francisco who says their average client is 14.

"So if the 14 is the average, there are some that are older, but there are also some who are younger," Ayanna Bennett, M.D. from the Third Street Youth Center and Clinic said.

That's why the school district wants to bring its wellness program to the more than 10,000 students in middle school and yes, that would include offering condoms under the supervision of a counselor. The district says it's worked at the high school level.

"We believe that with the education, it actually lessens the amount of sexual activity, lessens the amount of sexually transmitted infections as well as pregnancies in our high school," Kevin Gogin, from the San Francisco Unified School District, said.

As in most cases, parents are on the fence.

"It's not their job! It's not their job! It's not their call. It's our call," said one woman.

"Yeah, I think it comes down to the parents. It's the parents who should be on top of this," parent Susan Porotesano said.

"If they are having sex behind their parents back, why not be safe about it?" said another parent.

According to the district, parents would only be told if their child gives their consent.

"We respect the state's requirements of confidentiality," Gogin said.

The program has been in effect at local high schools for the past 25 years. The district points out it has been so successful, that only 26 percent of their students say they have had sexual intercourse. The national average is 47 percent.