Seniors attending the prom for Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory High School next month will receive free condoms. As the school’s principal, Darryl Rascoe, told the New York Daily News, doing so for the New York City school’s prom is “necessary,” “practical… and the right thing to do.”
As the Christian Science Monitor asks: Is the school making a prudent decision? Or is it sending the wrong message and encouraging students to have sex?
Rascoe said his intent is to cut down on sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and also to cut down on teen pregnancies among students at Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory High School, a transfer school for 130 students. Noting that several of the students in the school already have children, Rascoe says that
“We’re fooling ourselves if we think we can leave this up to teens to be proactive.”
In MSNBC, Rascoe refers to pregnancy as “self-sabotage,” adding that “It makes it more difficult to move forward and life becomes a struggle.”
Condoms have been available at the school for the past three years. Under its Condom Availability Program, the NYC Department of Education requires that all of NYC’s public high schools offer condoms in a designated health resource room, though parents can have their child opt out if they wish. Rascoe says that his school will hold an assembly about safe-sex prior to the prom.
Condom manufacturer NuVo is providing the condoms; Bedford Stuyvesant Preparatory High School is the only school in the area that has taken up the company’s offer for them.
The Christian Science Monitor points out that teens having sex on prom night may not be what parents should be worrying about the most:
Seventeen Magazine and Centers for Disease Control surveyed 12,843 students about prom. Only 14 percent of girls said that they had sex on prom night. And only 5 percent surveyed said they had lost their virginity that evening. (The number is even lower for boys – 3 percent said they lost their virginity on prom night.)
Compare this to other CDC research, which has found that nearly half of all high school students have had sexual intercourse.
A real concern is alcohol consumption. The same Seventeen Magazine survey found that 53% of teens said they had consumed more than four drinks on prom night and that “hundreds” of teens die in alcohol-related accidents on prom night.
Not that it may help as much as one would wish, but the teens could use an assembly about prom safety, period.
MSNBC quotes Rascoe about the condom handouts. Noting that his concern is the future of his students, the principal says that the “first thing that should roll off your tongue when you say Bed-Stuy Prep is college. We are trying to prepare you for college and for life.”
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