Practice safe sex: Condoms should be available in Frederick County high schools


graphic by Braden Weinel

Condom distribution in high schools have been controversial in the past but we need protection now more than ever.

by Braden Weinel, Editor

From freshman to senior year, we are all taught abstinence, the only 100% effective way to save teens from unplanned pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases. However, all classroom preparation aside, history says that hormones and desire are going to win. Due to this, we should at least prepare students for safe sex.

I believe our school health room, supported by the Frederick County Health Department, should provide free condoms for any student who asks. This would prevent the rise of STD’s in Maryland as well as limit the potential of unplanned pregnancy. No matter how much the FCPS curriculum teaches abstinence, teenagers are still going to be sexually active. In fact, according to Advocates for Youth, an organization that capitalizes on youth activism, 46% of high school students have had sex. If there is no stopping students who are already sexually active, then the best way to ensure their safety is to provide them with condoms.

There are 11 states in the U.S that do not require sex education in schools and there are another 11 states that require abstinence to be taught in the sex education course. Based on data collected by the Center for Disease Control, Maryland, out of all 50 states, has the nineteenth highest rate for STDs. In the state of MD, 700 out of each 100,000 people have an STD.

Next year, Frederick County health teachers will be required to advise students about all forms of birth control, including condoms. Health teacher, Rachel Easterday thinks that this change in curriculum is the first step in stopping STD’s and unplanned pregnancy.

“Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, we, as teachers will be teaching students how to use condoms properly,” said Easterday.

The rise of STD’s in Maryland in the past two years has been drastic, especially in our neighboring counties. In 2017 there were over 9000 cases of chlamydia in Maryland for people ages 15-19. Since then, chlamydia cases have risen by 17%. Gonorrhea is also a dangerous STD that has increased by 29% in the last two years based on a report by the Maryland Department of Health. Currently, the number of STD cases across the nation is at an all-time high.

To combat this rise in STD’s, at the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Montgomery County Public Schools began distributing condoms through their school health rooms. Howard County Public Schools, and Baltimore City Schools have a free condom policy as well.

In the health room of MOCO schools such as Damascus High School and Northwest High School, students can ask for condoms in privacy, and the school nurse will give them a bag of five. In Howard County Public Schools, when students ask the nurse for condoms, they get handed a bag of 10 along with a fact sheet describing proper use.

“I think that it would help if the Frederick County Health Department could promote a program within our health room to make condoms available,” said Principal Nancy Doll.

Condoms are not 100% effective in stopping the spread of STDs; however, they are the safest way for students to have sexual intercourse. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that children who do not talk to their parents about sex are more likely to be sexually active at an earlier age.

Mother of two high school students, Kelly Spore says, “If my child was not comfortable talking to me about sex, as a parent it would make me feel better knowing they have somewhere to go to get free protection and additional sex education.”

Parents of high school students may not support a condom policy because they believe that it promotes sex as “okay.” Sex, however, is a real thing, and there is no surefire way to stop teens from being sexually active.

Other FCPS employees also agree that condoms should be readily available in school health rooms. Allison Young, the Public Information Officer for the Frederick County Health Department also believes that condoms would be a great resource for students who are sexually active.

 “FCPS should provide free condoms and education on the proper way to put them on. I think the health room nurse or assistant could be given the proper training to assist students, whether they need additional counseling, where to go for testing treatment, or how they can pay for services and provide them with other resources,” said Young.

The best way to fight the spread of STD’s is to use condoms. Having condoms available for students in the health room would make it easier to prevent the possibilities of getting an STD and spreading it to someone else. In order to keep our students safe, FCPS, as well as every school district in the nation, should make condoms available in high schools.