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The state of Vermont became the first to require that condoms be made available to middle and high school students.
The new policy was signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, in 2020.
“Condoms should be available in locations that are safe and readily accessible for students, without barriers to obtaining condoms or stigma surrounding access (e.g., should be available through health office or classroom, athletic trainer’s office, guidance office or other locations students can comfortably access),” reads the new guidance.
The condoms are provided free of charge to the schools by the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
While many individual districts have implemented similar policies across the nation, Vermont is the first to require condoms to be made available to students state-wide.
Advocates for the new policy point to the results from the 2019 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey that found 40% of high school students had participated in sexual intercourse, but only half had used condoms.
“Middle and high schools have a responsibility to encourage their students, their young people, to advocate for themselves, to ask questions, to clarify confusion,” said Winooski Middle School Amanda Spencer to WBAL-TV.
The Vermont Agency of Education said that minors had a “legal right to access a full range of reproductive and sexual health services without parent permission.”
The Vermont Right to Life Committee criticized the bill, saying it had the “potential to increase abortion rates in Vermont.” However, several health studies have found that teaching adolescents about condoms does not lead to increased sexual activity.
A 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 7.4% of high schools provided condoms to their students, while 2.3% of middle schools did the same.
Here’s another school district that handed out condoms:
[embedded content] Condoms for sixth graders? www.youtube.com