Chicago Public Schools will be offering free condoms to students, ages 10 and up, when classes begin again in the fall, Fox News reported.
According to a new policy, which CPS Board of Education signed in December, schools must “maintain a condom availability program” for grades 5 and up to protect against “sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection, and unintended pregnancy.”
The Chicago Department of Public Health will provide thousands of condoms to 600 CPS schools. Each elementary school will be allotted 250 condoms and high schools will receive 1,000, FOX 32 reported.
“When you don’t have those protections and don’t make those resources available then bad stuff happens to young people,” CPS doctor Kenneth Fox told the Chicago Sun-Times, acknowledging that some people may be upset by the move. “You have elevated risks of sexually transmitted infections, of unintended pregnancies, and that’s very preventable stuff.”
CPS said the new policy is “guided by anti-racist pedagogy” and “provides strategies to support all students that are inclusive of gender identity, gender expression.”
The district also described its sex education as “medically accurate” and “age appropriate,” with the goal of teaching “consent and healthy relationships, anatomy and physiology, puberty and adolescent sexual development, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and identity, sexual health, and interpersonal violence,” according to the policy.
Students from Pre-K through 12th grade will be required to participate in sex education lessons unless a parent or guardian provides a “written objection.”
Any teacher who leads the lesson must first complete the District’s Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Instructor training and pass the post exam. All staff must also complete annual “Safe and Supportive Environments for LGBTQ+ Students training.”
In addition, schools are ordered to provide information about accessing “confidential reproductive and sexual health services,” including abortion, transgender health services, contraceptives, prenatal care, adoption, mental healthcare, and HIV and STI screenings and treatments.
Chicago Public Schools first mandated sex-ed for kindergarteners in 2013, though many parents did not approve of the move.