Milwaukee Public Schools may join a handful of districts nationwide that hand out condoms to kids. A proposal involves kids going to their school nurse for the contraception, who would provide brochures and be open to dialogue about sexual activity. Kathleen Murphy, MPS Health Coordinator, says it is evident more kids are having unprotected sex.
Kathleen Murphy (:18)
Sally Ladky, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Abstinence Coaltion, isn’t completely sold on the numbers.
Sally Ladky (:19)
Milwaukee children already have free access to this form of contraception. A program sponsored by the city health department, “No Condom, No Way,” distributes them in youth friendly venues such as clothing and record stores. Both Ladky and Murphy agree it’s essential to have to have proper education or counseling available from the health professional for kids requesting condoms.
However Ladky says “don’t tie the hands” of nurses when it comes to letting them determine if the student properly understands the physical consequences of sexual activity including STD’s, pregnancy, as well as legal consequences of having sex with a minor. She calls it “an opportunity” for nurses to address these issues with students and adds condoms may also be requested by someone who is an abusive situation.
Murphy notes federal and state law provides confidentiality to minors accessing these contraception services but that also involves health workers be required to report an evidence of abuse. She says the nurse would provide an open door for students to ask questions.
Details of the proposal have not been completely finalized. The School Board’s Innovation/School Reform Committee will take up the issue at its meeting on Tuesday where public comments will be accepted.