Kid Condoms: Provincetown Likely to Limit to 5th Grade and Up

"The real issue is when sex education should begin, and whether sex education promotes promiscuous behavior or not," he said. "There is no evidence that I know of that educating children about safe sex encourages sexual behavior.

"If you told kids about the risks of suicide, it doesn't promote suicide," he said.

Provincetown's elementary school -- which has 85 students -- serves children in pre-K to sixth grade but will soon admit children as young as 15 months.

"Surprise, we are not giving them condoms," said Singer, who said the backlash "is not over yet."

After stories headlined "Condoms for Kids" hit the Internet, readers reacted: "Welcome to the socialist USA where the government knows best."

"Most of the firestorm is outside our town," said Singer. "I have suggested that if this were Hoboken [New Jersey], people wouldn't have reacted this way. Provincetown is a certain kind of town."

Provincetown, with a summer population that can swell to 100,000 on the Fourth of July, is the nation's self-proclaimed oldest art colony and former stage to such playwrights as Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams.

It prides itself on being the first landing for the Mayflower, where Pilgrims penned the "compact" that would become the U.S. Constitution.

Provincetown has also been named the nation's "best gay resort town" and a "No. 1 destination" for same-sex weddings, which take place mainly during the summer when out-of-towners descend on the pristine beaches and rental homes.

This progressive community -- influenced by early Americans and later by generations of Portuguese fisherman -- is accustomed to differing opinions, according to Bob Sanborn, director of the Provincetown Tourist Board.

Provincetown: Home to Families, Fishermen and Gays

"Because of our tradition and freedom over many years with artists, writers and bohemians, and later the LGBT [esbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community started flocking to town, [the town] is known for its being rich and diverse," he said . "Everyone gets along and is always very accepting."

Sanborn said he likes the way the condom policy "really focuses on education."

"There is a high awareness factor and safe sex is valued here," he said.

And some Provincetown residents are baffled over why they are getting all this attention for what they see as a comprehensive sex education program.

"I can't believe this is newsworthy," said Pat Patrick, owner of Marine Specialties and father of an 8-year-old. "I honestly am surprised it's an issue."

Patrick, who is not related to the governor, said most third graders would not even know enough to ask for a condom.

"If they do know enough to ask, maybe they should be talking to a counselor," he said.

His wife, Shannon Patrick, sits on the school board and questioned whether the policy went far enough.

"I don't like that students can't be discreet about this," she told the Provincetown Banner. "They have to go and ask for it. I'd rather them not have the conversation [with counselors] and have the condom than not have the condom."

Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician, said she is not surprised some parents are "up in arms" that giving condoms will encourage sexual activity.

"I disagree," said Brown, author of the parenting book "Expecting 411." "It will encourage safer sexual activity. I don't think the condoms will be offered up with crayons or construction paper on the school supplies list.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...