When schools in Chicago open for the first time since the start of the pandemic next month, they will be stocked with disinfectants, hand sanitisers, masks, forehead thermometers and air purifiers. But besides all these things, almost every school, including the elementary schools, will also have menstruation products and condoms.
As per the new policy passed by the CPS Board of Education, schools that teach fifth grade and up must maintain a condom availability program as part of an expanded vision of sexual health education. That means all but a dozen, which enrol only younger grades, of the more than 600 CPS schools will have access to condoms.
The policy that was passed recently was years in the making and had often hit roadblocks owing to its controversial nature. A significant section of lawmakers believes the policy is a step in the right direction. “Young people have the right to accurate and clear information to make healthy decisions,” said Kenneth Fox, a CPS doctor and a paediatrician for 30 years, told Chicago Sun-Times.
Netizens react after Chicago decides to provide free condoms in schools
While the administration claims that the new policy would help create awareness about unwanted pregnancies and serious illnesses such as HIV AIDS, critics claim familiarising children from fifth graders with condoms could prove counterproductive.
The decision to provide free condoms in schools elicited a sharp reaction from the critics, who questioned the rationale behind teaching sexual education to children of 10-12 years by providing them with free condoms. “I’m for realistic sex education in public schools, but fifth graders are 10 and 11 years old. What is being taught?” questioned one social media user.
I’m all for realistic sex education in public schools, but fifth graders are 10 and 11 years old. What is being taught?— Kylee Alexander (@KyleeAlexander_) July 6, 2021
Similarly, many other people on social media were taken aback by the decision to offer free condoms in elementary schools. One of them said it is not only ridiculous that children studying in elementary schools are being provided with condoms, but it is being done so on taxpayers’ expense.
In addition to the ridiculousness of handing out condoms in elementary school, they double down and put a custom CPS logo on the wrapper. Your tax dollars at work. Someone needs to clean up the circus. SMH— willy wally (@will2p0w3r) July 6, 2021
Another Twitter user appeared thoroughly befuddled with the decision of providing free condoms to children as young as 10 to 11 years of age.
What the fuck is going on I’m confused what do a 5th grader need condoms for I know alot of people don’t have a choice to cpd their kids but what the fuck I’m I guess this is why school choices is essential.— Prince.T (@PrinceT7419) July 6, 2021
However, there were others who welcomed the decision and hailed the new policy. One of the social media users commented “Excellent” on Chicago’s decision to include condoms and menstruation products to teach children about sexual education and diseases such as HIV AIDS.
Excellent!— Dr Brenna #CopsOutCPS (@BrennaDemands) July 7, 2021
Another Twitter user said since children start menstruating at the age of 8 or 9 these days, it is sensible decision to educate them about menstruation products and condoms.
Given that some children start their periods at 8 or 9, and more tweens have sex than parents like to admit, this is good sense. https://t.co/2DCU3MYEYg— Dr. Shaw (@shawphd) July 6, 2021
The policy so far has been that the principal of the school decides on matters related to sexual health and education. However, with the new policy, the principal’s discretion is set aside and all the schools will have to stock menstruation products and condoms as a part of their sexual health education.