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Condoms for Provincetown Pupils

Condoms for Provincetown Pupils

All 152 elementary and high school students in Provincetown, Mass., public schools will be given confidential access to free condoms under a policy unanimously approved in June by school administrators.

"We know that sexual experimentation is not limited to an age, so how does one put an age on it?" said superintendent Beth Singer, author of the policy.

Under the policy a school nurse may distribute condoms without divulging that information to parents, even over a parent's objection.

However, a young child's request for a condom would be dealt with "in a professional and appropriate way," Singer said. She stressed that an elementary student requesting a condom would be asked a series of questions by the nurse, who would then almost certainly refuse to provide one. "I don't anticipate that this policy is going to affect youngsters. It's there for adolescents," Singer explained.

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, called the policy a "gross violation of parents' rights" and an "absolute push to promote sexual promiscuity."

School officials supporting the policy said it would not be practical to establish an age cutoff for distribution of condoms.

"It's unrealistic to think that a parent saying no to condoms means the child's going to say no to sex. They're still going to have sex; they're just not going to have a condom," said Michele Couture, chair of the board of selectmen.

Peter Grosso chairs the town's school committee, which approved the measure 4-0. Despite the objections, he continued to support access to condoms regardless of a student's age. He assured, however, that "we're not going to be handing them out like M&Ms."

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