Officials decry school's plan to hand out condoms at prom
Activists say that 'distribution of condoms on school campuses further normalizes teen sex'
The typical high school prom usually includes a complimentary photo of the couple, souvenir flowers and programs. Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory High School in Brooklyn plans to give their high school students a little something extra as they leave -- 500 condoms will be available at the school's prom this June.
Concerns about underage drinking or unprotected sex on prom night have inspired other prevention programs at schools around the country. Most of them are usually in the form of chaperoned after-parties, to scheduling the event on weekend nights.
Concerns about underage drinking or what is now routinely called "unprotected" sex on prom night have inspired other prevention programs at schools around the country. Most of them are usually in the form of chaperoned after-parties, to scheduling the event on weekend nights.
Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, says that the handouts are a very improper idea. "We are concerned that the distribution of condoms on school campuses further normalizes teen sex," she wrote in an email.
Principal Rascoe says he's unaware of any opposition to the prom condom plan.
Bedford-Stuyvesant Prep is a small, "transfer" school of about 130 students that high school students attend after having had academic, disciplinary, or other difficulties elsewhere. The school already conducts "safe sex" forums (another eupmeism) and already distributes condoms through sex education initiatives.
Other high schools in New York City allow students to request free condoms as part of HIV/AIDS prevention programs. The Brooklyn school also houses one of New York City Schools' "Lyfe" (Living for the Young Family through Education) centers, a day-care facility for the young children of current students.
The manufactures NuVo branded condoms offered to supply some for prom, the principal viewed it as an extension of what the school already does. The Brooklyn school's parent coordinator notified parents about the safe-sex prom program "and that, during prom, things happen," Rascoe said.
That's why senior Shaquana Brown agrees with the move. "It's a great idea," she said in an interview. "You know, there are after parties and stuff" where students might find themselves in a sexual situation they didn't anticipate.
In addition, the "prom condom" distribution plan will be accompanied by a safe sex school assembly sponsored by the condom maker shortly before the prom. An essay contest on the topic of safe sex will also be judged by the school's English department.
NuVo has made a similar prom condom offer to other schools, although Bedford-Stuyvesant Prep is the only taker so far.
For the Brooklyn school's principal, the prom condom plan is about the future of teenagers. Though students may have had trouble at other settings, Rascoe said, the "first thing that should roll off your tongue when you say Bed-Stuy Prep is college. We are trying to prepare you for college and for life."
Getting pregnant, he said "is self-sabotage. It makes it more difficult to move forward and life becomes a struggle."
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Prophylactics, Brooklyn, high school, prom
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