I’m not sure if you saw this news story. In October 2007, the Portland, Maine School Committee voted in favor of a plan to dish out birth control patches and pills to students as young as sixth grade at King Middle School. That’s the same school that had been dispensing condoms to kids as young as eleven-years-old since 2002. Eleven?
Did I mention that parental consent isn’t required?
Actually, it’s against the law in Maine.
Schools in Maine – and in many other states – will not inform parents of how their children are treated at a school clinic if they’ve signed a waver for treatment in case of injury, illness, or other emergencies. Junior can request birth control just as easily as asking for Band-Aid®. This begs a number of questions: Does a school health official have your child’s best interest at heart?
What eleven-year-old should be on the pill?
Why are middle-school children sexually active?
Where are the parents?
Of course, those in favor of such handouts argue: “Kids will be kids. They’ll never listen to their parents. They’re gonna have sex so you might as well give them the tools to play safe.” Really?
Kids want to drive. Yet we routinely deny drivers licenses until they are of age. Kids want to drink alcohol. However, laws preventing the sales of so-called adult beverages from youth are enforced in all fifty states. I imagine there are some industrious 12-year-olds who, to their credit, may want to work part time. Guess what? With few exceptions like delivering newspapers, it’s against the law.
Why, then, don’t we uphold minimum standards for sex?
Why are we so quick to toss in the towel, lower the bar, and compromise our standards rather than encourage youth to value, cherish, and wait for sex until marriage? Whatever the reason, here’s the results of society’s negligence. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease and Prevention revealed that 26% of teenage girls ages 14-19 now have at least one sexually transmitted disease (STD).
That’s one in four girls.
What’s worse is the fact that the most common STD these girls contracted was human papillomavirus (HPV). Did you know there is no cure for HPV? Did you know HPV can lead to infertility or cervical cancer? Does your daughter know these are the cold, hard facts about sexual experimentation outside of marriage? Does your son or daughter know that there is no condom that can protect the mind from unwanted memories? No condom that will protect their heart from the loss of self-esteem from a one night stand?
With that in mind, I should point out that we’re in prom season. While you may have spent several hours shopping with your daughter for the perfect dress, have you invested a few minutes preparing her mind for the choices she may make with her date that can haunt her for life? Have you had a man-to-man conversation with your son about doing the honorable thing with his date, namely, to respect and cherish her rather than exploit her in the passion of the moment?
Reversing the trend to distribute condoms to minors in the schools is not an easy task. Nor will it happen in the near future. However, I think you’ll agree talking with our precious children about their sexuality before the prom – or any serious dating relationship – is no longer optional.