By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Officials in the District of Columbia, which has some of the worst-performing public schools in the nation, are concerned that their program for the distribution of free condoms in those schools is failing. According to the Washington Post, “High school students and college-age adults have been complaining to District officials that the free condoms the city has been offering are not of good enough quality and are too small.”
If that alone was not bad enough, students are also complaining that it is embarrassing to have to ask school nurses and other health professionals for them.
In response, rather than review the program to see if it is even something the schools should be doing, D.C. officials have decided to begin dispensing a more trendy and more expensive brand of condom, and have begun “to authorize teachers or counselors, preferably male, to distribute condoms to students if the teachers complete a 30-minute online training course called ‘WrapMC’--for Master of Condoms,” the Post reports.
By involving classroom teachers in condom distribution, the D.C. schools are arguably going beyond the idea that it is a public health program. And the data is somewhat startling. “The number of free condoms that the District dispenses has been steadily increasing. The health department distributed 3.2 million last year, including about 15,000 in schools. The city, which has 600,000 residents, is on pace to hand out more than 4 million condoms this year, having distributed about 2.5 million so far,” the Post says.
Expanding the program to include items that are more popular, potentially, with students than what is already being offered won’t exactly break the bank. The program cost about $165,000 last year, according to the Post. The new condoms are more expensive, but by just pennies each. Nevertheless, one can question the judgment of city officials who think it is really the job of the school system to make available brands that are more consumer friendly than is currently the case.
The public schools exist to teach the 3 R’s--reading, writing and ‘rithmetic--not as laboratories for social engineering experiments. The idea that the condom distribution program needs to be modified as D.C. is doing without questioning its very existence is not only a concession to a particular point of view but is an example of big government run amok.