Montgomery Co. Public Schools Expand Free Condom Program
Thursday, September 13, 2018
ROCKVILLE, Md. – After seeing a double-digit surge in chlamydia and gonorrhea, the Montgomery County school board voted unanimously Tuesday to offer condoms at all of its high schools.
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a continuous rise of sexually transmitted diseases nationwide.
In Montgomery County, sexually transmitted infection cases have reached a 10-year high, which prompted Jill Ortman-Fouse, an at-large member of the Montgomery County Board of Education, to propose the resolution making condoms more accessible in school health rooms and clinics.
"The research shows that having condoms available coupled with sexual health education makes a difference, and I think some people were concerned that we're just going to be distributing the condoms or having them in baskets, which they absolutely do in other school systems," she states.
Ortman-Fause says it's a myth that if you talk about sex, young people will have more sex.
Opponents also have argued there is not enough data to show providing condoms will make a difference.
While health department staff will help answer students' questions, Ortman-Fause says she hopes it triggers more conversations at home with families and guardians to discuss the facts about sexual education.
In order to receive a condom, a student will have to go to his or her school's designated health rooms and make the request.
Ortman-Fause says this was a conservative middle ground for concerned parents, even if some students might still be uncomfortable having a discussion about their sexual activities with a health professional.
"That is a concern of mine, but we have to start somewhere, and I think the school system was very concerned about pushback from the community,” she states. “You know, this is simply a public health measure just like vaccinations, but there is a whole lot of cultural baggage attached to it. "
Making condoms available isn't new. The district began the school year offering the contraceptive at four high schools.
Since 2012, Washington, D.C. has been running an initiative to tackle teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and has expanded those services to all schools in the district.
get more stories like this via email
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a plan extending a natural-gas pipeline in Virginia. The Virginia Reliability Plan and Transcot's …
Today is Giving Tuesday, a day when millions of Americans are expected to make charitable donations. But it can also be a field day for scammers…
A new project in Southern Arizona aims to support local reporting and enable greater access to local news and information. Earlier this month…
As the weather turns colder, two groups of people in one North Dakota city that are generations apart appear to be in good shape to navigate housing …
Researchers are out with new findings they say show that death rates linked to air pollution from coal plants are underestimated. A Wisconsin …
Illinois high school seniors have new hurdles to overcome to get to college. High school students are waiting several extra weeks to get their hands …
Clean-energy companies and supporters are calling on federal officials to prioritize the development of charging infrastructure for EV powered medium …
Missouri's duck-hunting season runs through January, and many enthusiasts are concerned about how plentiful their future quarry will be because of a …