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Meet the Mayoral Candidates: Condoms in schools

Posted by Joanna Weiss  August 19, 2013 01:59 PM

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Condoms in schools.jpg

In this month’s #LabDebates, Boston's mayoral candidates answered our questions about everything from crime and education policy to Happy Hour, trash pickup, and, of course, cage fighting. But we didn't have time to address every issue, even in a lightning round. So with just over a month before Election Day, we're continuing our series of questions for the candidates, to get them on the record about issues large and small.

This week, we asked the candidates whether they support the distribution of condoms in Boston public schools -- something the School Committee voted to do earlier this summer, pairing the handouts with safe sex counseling in Boston's 32 high schools. Here's what they said, in the order responses were received.


Marty Walsh, @Marty_Walsh
State Representative

martywalsh.jpgYes. It is important that we use every tool we have to prevent pregnancy, STIs and STDs. Study after study has shown that condom availability increases use among sexually active teens, but does not cause them to initiate sex or have sex with more partners. Any condom distribution program should include an age-appropriate and medically accurate education component as well.


Bill Walczak, @BillforBoston
Community leader

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BillWalczak.jpgI support the distribution of condoms in Boston public schools as long as it is coupled with sex education classes. We know that many students are sexually active, and we must be realistic and do our best to encourage safe sexual activity. I co-founded and am president of Codman Academy Charter Public School, which has partnered with Codman Square Health Center to provide access to contraception, and Codman Academy is the first school I know of to require Sexual Education Competency as a prerequisite for graduation. Other high schools should follow suit.


John Connolly, @JohnRConnolly
Boston City Councilor

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for johnconnolly.jpgYes. I worked with Councilor Ayanna Pressley to push for a comprehensive wellness policy for the Boston Public Schools. Ideally, parents should be the primary sex and health educators for their children. Unfortunately, many of our students face situations where they will not receive any reliable sex or health education from a parent or any adult in their life. Our pregnant and parenting teens are one of our most high-risk groups to drop out. When a pregnant teen or a parenting mother or father drops out, she or he puts the lowest ceiling possible on their future and their child's future. We need to do everything possible to help our young people stay in school and pursue pathways of opportunity. Making condoms available in school should be part of a broader strategy to prevent dropping out, and to make sure every student is healthy.


Dan Conley, @DanFConley
Suffolk District Attorney

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DanConley.jpgPreventing teen pregnancy needs to be a priority for the next Mayor. There is nothing that will so dramatically raise the likelihood of a life of poverty and other social risks for mother and child than becoming a teen mom. As Mayor I intend to approach this issue comprehensively and with real urgency. It would include (but not be limited to) comprehensive, age appropriate sex education, access to condoms in our schools, and a broad-based public health and education campaign aimed at young people. This campaign would highlight the pronounced risks associated with teen pregnancy, but would also encourage young men and women to make smart choices and treat one another with respect and responsibility.


Felix Arroyo, @FelixArroyo
Boston City Councilor

Thumbnail image for Felix G Arroyo.jpgYes. This is a matter of public health and should be a part of a comprehensive and age appropriate health curriculum.



John Barros, @JohnFBarros
Former school committee member

Thumbnail image for johnbarros.jpgI support the decision that the Boston School Committee made earlier this year to distribute condoms to high school students within the context of a broader "wellness" policy. Given that a significant number of BPS students report being sexually active, providing developmentally appropriate sexual and reproductive health education, as well as counseling services within a supportive school environment, contributes to the health of and good decision-making by students. This policy allows parents to exempt their children from receiving condoms by notifying the schools. This condom policy illuminates the larger role that schools need to play beyond academic achievement. They must also address the social, emotional, and physical health of students.


Rob Consalvo, @RobConsalvo
Boston City Councilor

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Rob Consalvo.jpgA recently passed policy will allow the distribution of condoms in all 32 Boston public high schools. High school students who want condoms may get them, along with appropriate health education and counseling services. Parents and legal guardians may exempt their children from receiving condoms simply by notifying the school when they submit the family information forms at the beginning of every school year. I support the policy and believe it should remain as it stands.


Mike Ross, @MikeForBoston
Boston City Councilor

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for mike_ross_headshot1.jpgI support making condoms available in schools but that's not enough -- we need a broader range of health services available to our students. I support expanding school-based health centers to all schools. School-based health centers not only distribute condoms and provide sexual health counseling, but also provide a first line of defense against the medical and social health problems that can keep kids from succeeding at school. Partnerships with our community health centers, medical schools, and hospitals can make this expansion a reality and partnerships like these make our schools and our community stronger.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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