Oregon school district OKs teachers giving condoms to sixth graders

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Last Updated May 29, 2014 6:55 PM EDT

Students as young as sixth grade in an Oregon school district will soon be able to get condoms from some teachers.

The Gervais School District, which is located about 30 miles south of Portland, has moved forward with a new plan to allow specific teachers to distribute condoms to students who ask for one.

The move comes after an Oregon Health & Science University study a year ago found that 7 percent of Gervais High School's female students had become pregnant.

"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. So there would be designated people for students to have a conversation with and then a condom would be distributed at that time," Gervais School District Superintendent Rick Hensel told CBS News.

The policy is expected to kick in next fall.

Hensel said this school year alone, nine girls became pregnant, or 5 percent of girls in grades six through 12.

The district's total enrollment is a little over 1,000 students across four schools -- one elementary, one middle school, one high school and one alternative school.

The study also highlighted that 42 percent of Gervais High School students said they "never" or only "sometimes" use any protection against STDs or pregnancy.

Hensel said reasoning behind why sixth graders were included in the policy was a purely logistical issue. The district's middle school is only 40 feet away from the high school.

"I think the concern was that if we have our middle school, we have some of the same teachers teaching the same topics at the high school, obviously there's going to be a different type of curriculum for the middle school, but at some point they just kind of felt it would evolve to that anyway -- so let's just include them (sixth graders)," Hensel said.

Hensel said it would be quite different if the condom distribution plan was to install dispensers or leave them in place that could be easily accessible for middle schoolers. But the policy that was passed last week by the board requires that students talk to a teacher first before receiving a condom.

Gervais School Board Member Molly McCargar told CBS affiliate KOIN that said she supports making condoms available to students who ask a teacher for one.

"It is great for parents. I'm a parent of four girls. The conversations have started and they will continue -- unfortunately not all of our kids have that support at home," McCargar told KOIN.

But not all parents are on board with the idea.

"I just disagree with it. I don't think elementary kids should be around it. I just disagree with it," parent Kim Hults told the station.

Hensel said there will be several community planning meetings over the summer to iron out the details before the plan goes into effect in the fall.

  • Leezel Tanglao

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