A new program by Chicago Public Schools involves offering condoms to elementary school students in fifth grade.
Incoming students will have access to 250 condoms per elementary school; high schools are required to have 1,000 on hand.
“I would expect that not everybody is going to be completely on board right from the start, but I do think society has changed,” CPS doctor Kenneth Fox said, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.
The policy, passed by the CPS Board of Education in December, also ensures that students have menstrual products, masks, and other health products.
“Young people have the right to accurate and clear information to make healthy decisions,” the pediatrician added. “They need access to resources to protect their health and the health of others as they act on those decisions.”
Scout Bratt, an outreach and education director at the Chicago Women’s Health Center, concurred.
“It’s a harm reduction approach,” Mr. Bratt told the newspaper.
Critics want CPS to focus on better sexual education in school, in addition to consultation with parents, before offering condoms to children.
“My question is, ‘Oh my God, how is it that CPS wants to give condoms to kids?’” said Maria Serrano of the group Healing to Action. “They are 10 years old, 11, 12. They are kids. So why is CPS thinking about providing condoms? Why not provide them information, and at the end give them the resource of a condom when they are prepared to use those resources they want to provide. For me, this isn’t the best option. They are doing things backwards.”