As students in Chicago make their way back to in-person learning, their schools will be stocked with hand sanitizer, thermometers and free condoms.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, schools with fifth grade-students and older will have the free condoms after the CPS Board of Education passed a new policy in December.
The CPS Board of Education policy mandates schools with at fifth graders and older –– which adds up to more than 600 schools –– keep up a condom availability program to widen the district’s approach to sex education.The CPS sex education curriculum includes topics like puberty, hygiene, gender identity, relationships, sexual harassment, birth control, and prevention of sexual transmitted infections, according to the Sun-Times.
Elementary schools will get 250 condoms and high schools –– some of which already offer free condoms–– will get 1,000 to start. School principals can request more if the school runs out.
“Young people have the right to accurate and clear information to make healthy decisions,” Dr. Kenneth Fox, head doctor for Chicago Public Schools and 30-year pediatrician told the outlet. “And they need access to resources to protect their health and the health of others as they act on those decisions,” Fox continued.
“I would expect that not everybody is going to be completely on board right from the start but I do think society has changed,” Fox said, noting that the district’s goal is preventing sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies.
One parent told the Sun-Times the district is doing things backwards. "My question is 'Oh my God, how is it that CPS wants to give condoms to kids?'" Maria Serrano, a parent advocate with Healing to Action, a grassroots organization, told the outlet.
"They are 10 years old, 11, 12. They are kids. So why is CPS thinking of providing condoms? Why not provide information, and at the end give them the resource of a condom when they are prepared to use those resources they want to provide. For me, this isn't the best option. They are doing things backwards."
Students across the state of Illinois will also have access to free menstruation products thanks to a similar policy passed by state lawmakers earlier this year.