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Massachusetts school district under fire over condom policy

From Jessica Naziri, CNN
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Condoms for elementary students?
  • Massachusetts school district passes policy allowing condom distribution
  • Students in elementary school can get condoms
  • Policy allows school nurses to give condoms to sexually-active students
  • Some parents say it encourages kids to have sex

(CNN) -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick urged a school district to revise its policy allowing students as young as in elementary schools to get condoms if they are believed to be sexually active.

"It is simply not age appropriate to have a program in place for such young children, not to mention not having parents of such young children involved," Patrick said in a statement.

"Comprehensive reproductive health education needs to be done in an age appropriate manner."

The policy -- passed this month -- has no minimum age on supplying condoms to students. It allows nurses to give condoms to students they think are sexually active after counseling and education without informing their parents.

Provincetown school district superintendent, Beth Singer, who wrote the policy, said she wanted to ensure students of all ages requesting condoms get information on their use.

"Sex has no age limit. It's an individual scenario for each person," Singer said. "We can't put out an age for using condoms."

Singer said the policy is being misunderstood and was never intended for elementary school students.

It makes it clear that "we are against (students) being sexually active," she said.

The superintendent urged parents to discuss sex issues with their children, including letting them know that abstinence is the only safeguard.

A Provincetown school committee voted unanimously for the policy June 10. It was due to go into effect in the fall, but the committee plans to re-examine its wording amid the concerns.

Some parents in the school district decried the policy, saying it encourages children to be sexually active.

"This policy is stripping children of their innocence and making them more vulnerable to sexual predators," said Sherri Smitt, whose daughter graduated from Provincetown High School.

Evelyn Reilly of the Massachusetts Family Institute called the policy "absurd" and said it does not give parents a say.

"Sex ed allows parents to make the decision to opt their child out, this policy is essentially saying it's not the parents business if their child is having sex," Reilly said.

"It is emotionally, physically and psychologically disturbing."

CNN's Vivienne Foley contributed to this report.