New Britain has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state and now some Board of Education members are discussing the possibility of allowing a local nonprofit healthcare provider to distribute condoms to students at the high school.
According to statistics provided by the school, there are 14 pregnant students and two are already mothers. Last year, there were 31 pregnant teenagers with two of them having their second child. In 2010, 42 girls were pregnant at New Britain High School.
"I think they should be passed around because in the school a lot of pregnancy going on and I feel kids should be protected," said Tashema Tann of New Britain.
Condoms are known to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs. However, several parents and students said people should be 18 when they engage in sex and it should not be endorsed by the schools.
"Nobody wants to think of their kid as being sexually active," said parent Roseann Bilodeau.
Bilodeau has made it her mission to keep students in the community earning diplomas, not buying diapers through her program, Pathways-Senderos. The nonprofit teaches teenagers about Planned Parenthood and gives out free condoms.
"It's in everyone's best interest for young people to have affordable easy access to birth control, easy access to condoms," Bilodeau said. "Condoms, that is just a little part of it. I think all kids need that."
The Board of Education president said the current contract prohibits passing out any form of birth control and the policy advocates abstinence.
"Yes, they should because of the high teenage pregnancy we're having, and I'd say no because that tells them it's OK to have sex," said Livia Arasimowicz of New Britain.
Twice over the past seven years, the school board struck down the plan, including in 2010. There is no plan to vote on this particular topic in the future. A majority vote of six members is needed to change the current policy.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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