Students as young as 14 in Philadelphia will soon have access to unlimited free condoms, courtesy of the city government. And while parents will be able to “opt-out” by sending a letter to their child’s school, administrators have made it clear that they will not monitor or restrict access to the condoms, even for those students whose parents have signed “opt-out” letters.
In other words, if your child attends high school in Philadelphia, then the government has taken control of your 14-year-old’s access to birth control, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 22 city high schools will receive large, clear plastic condoms dispensers over the holiday break. The dispensers will be mounted to the wall just inside doorway to the administrative offices of the schools.
The 22 schools targeted for the program reported the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases among students. Free condoms are already available in some Philadelphia schools, and in since April 2011, the city has given away about four million condoms, according to the Inquirer.
That’s four million condoms in just over eighteen months.
Despite this veritable sea of latex, the city’s deputy mayor for health and opportunity, Donald F. Schwarz, told reporters that there is “an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease in adolescents in Philadelphia.” And that one in four new HIV infections in the city are in teens.
When asked more specifically about how schools would respect the wishes of parents who didn’t want their children to have access to birth control without their knowledge, Assistant Superintendent Dennis W. Creedon made it clear to the Inquirer that the schools would do absolutely–nothing. “Students are to honor the wishes of their parents. If a student disrespects their guardian’s directive, that is an issue of the home,” he said.
Here at The College Fix, we think that if schools are going to ignore a “guardian’s directive,” even after guardians submit it to schools in writing, then it isn’t simply an issue of the home; rather, it is most definitely an issue of governmental abuse of power. Why can’t schools that choose to distribute condoms to do so in a way that respects parental consent?
We don’t think government bureaucrats should be giving birth control to 14-year-olds in direct defiance of parental consent. Philadelphia officials are effectively saying, “Go to hell,” to any parent who insists on being involved in his or her 14-year-old child’s health choices. And we find this dismissive attitude towards the rights of parents deeply troubling.
Image source: RoRi630 / Wikimedia Commons