Oregon School District Will Now Allow Teachers To Give Condoms To Sixth Graders

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One Oregon school district is set to allow certain teachers to hand out condoms to students as young as sixth graders starting next fall.

The Gervais School District will be instating this new policy to address concerns about teen pregnancy in the small town of 2,500 people, reports News Channel 8 in Portland. Superintendent Rick Hensel said that nine students got pregnant this year, including one in middle school—making up about 5 percent of the girls in grades 6-12.

The decision to open up a discussion about the new sex education policies follows a report last year from nursing interns at Oregon Health & Science University that showed 7 percent of Gervais high-school girls had gotten pregnant. The study also reported that more than 40 percent of the students surveyed admitted they “never” or only “sometimes” used a condom during intercourse.

The new plan for condom distribution will only allow certain trained professionals hand them out, and Hensel says he hopes the new plan will also open up conversation on an issue that obviously is occuring in the town.

If they wanted a condom, they would have to meet with a teacher — a designated teacher, the sex ed teacher or some of our counselors and maybe some administrators,” Hensel told CBS News. “So there would be designated people for students to have a conversation with, and then a condom would be distributed at that time.”

The Gervais School district isn’t the first school to instate a plan to hand out condoms to students. It was announced in March that 24 Chicago public high schools plan to make free condoms available to all their students. The expansion program would be funded by a $19.7 million federal grant that aims to combat teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.