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Rochester, N.Y. - It is a program that's been a controversial topic among city school parents and school board members. Nearly a year after the Rochester Board of Education voted to allow condoms in high schools, the school district is ready to implement its plan.
Starting on Monday, February 25, school nurses at Rochester city high schools will make condoms available to students at no cost to the student.
The students must meet certain criteria to be eligible to get condoms through the Condom Availability Program (CAP):
- They must be in ninth grade or higher.
- For students under 18, parents must approve of the student receiving condoms by not signing an "opt out" letter.
- Students must complete a health course which includes information about AIDS
- Students must also get agree to get personal health guidance from a nurse. The "guidance" will include lessons on abstinence, safe sex, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy prevention and proper condom use.
Letters went out to Rochester School District parents in October informing them about CAP. At that time, parents had the chance to "opt out" their children. For parents who wish to "opt out" their children, forms will continue to be available on the RCSD website and at their school nurse's office.
According to Jerome Underwood, the RCSC Senior Director of Youth and Family Services, students will have to visit the school nurse to receive condoms. The nurses will cross check their list to make sure the student is not on the "opt out" list. Other than speaking to the nurse, the condom distribution process will remain anonymous.
Underwood says that students are able to get, at maximum, ten condoms per day. However, when asking for so many condoms at once, a student will be questioned by the nurse as to why he or she needs so much.
The CAP program has received approval from the New York State Department of Education. The program is also funded entirely by the New York State Department of Health.