The Gervais School District has received a lot of media attention in the past week thanks to a decision the school board made about condom availability in the middle and high school.

We understand this is a polarizing issue, and it wasn’t an issue that was taken lightly: The school board has spent more than a year investigating whether the district needed to update its policy and provide a need.

Clearly, as a parent, you want to be the one who discusses sexuality and contraceptives with your child. The problem is that parents don’t seem to be doing that. Regardless of any moral and chaste upbringing a parent might provide, the decision to have sex is ultimately up to the teen. The parent’s purview can only go so far.

Arguably, teens spend more time in the school environment than they do with their parents. So during that time, shouldn’t they also receive advice and education regarding human sexuality?

Naturally, if you as a parent are not happy with the board’s decision, then why not have a discussion with your teen about the issue and what is expected of him or her?

We applaud the district’s decision not to just carelessly distribute condoms to students as young as 11. Before a student gets a condom in hand, there needs to be a conversation with a trusted teacher or staff member. It makes sense for a school to keep education in the discussion.

What we are having trouble understanding is why local parents are upset about this now. As we mentioned before, it’s not been a decision taken lightly by school board members, many of whom also had to be convinced by the staggering statistics that this was needed in the district. This goes back to an argument we bring up again and again — get involved. If you’re not happy with the decisions that the school district is making, then attend board meetings or, at the least, ask questions or check the board agenda on the district website.

Let’s be clear: We’re not advocating for sixth-graders to go out and have sex. We’re not even excited about the idea of high school students being sexually active. But the fact is that they are making these decisions, whether we like it or not. As the famous poem goes, do we leave an ambulance down in the valley or put up a fence so people don’t fall off the cliff? Do we just ignore the fact that this is happening or do we make resources available for these students so they have someone to go to for guidance?

Regardless of your religion or political affiliation, consider the facts and realize that the school district is simply trying to extend a hand in helping curb the trend of teen pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases. Instead of condemning, let’s work together to help improve teens’ lives.

Contract Publishing

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