On Friday, December 13th, U-32’s Health teacher, Meaghan Falby, sat at her desk packing up for the last weekend before winter break. U-32s Associate Principal, Jody Emerson walked into her room. Falby was about to have the answer she had been waiting to hear for six years: the WCUUSD School Board approved a policy around condom accessibility at U-32.
U-32’s “Are You Into It” club was created 3 years ago. Falby said the club was created by, “a really passionate group of kids (who) wanted to talk about a safe culture of consent.” They brought up the conversation of having access to condoms at school. Two members of “Are You Into It,” Bailey Morse and Iona Bristol, took charge of creating a proposal for the policy of condoms, lube, and dental dams to be offered at U-32 for all students 7-12.
Morse and Bristol worked with the head educator of Planned Parenthood of New England, Andria Nicolette. Andria has also helped many schools, like Harwood and Spaulding. Under the new policy, Planned Parenthood will supply U-32 with all condoms, dental dams, and lube at no cost to the school.
Falby says she never wanted it to be the “Health Teacher Show.” She “wanted the kids to go to the community or the school board and tell them that it is their right to have access to safer sex supplies.” The hope, Falby said, is for “kids advocating for themselves and normalizing the conversation.”
Meg said the new policy also brings up the conversation of having safe sex, something not many people feel comfortable talking about. The idea is to educate the students at U-32 in a safe environment.
“If we’re teaching the whole child,” Falby said, “then we need to teach them about health education, and sometimes that means sex education.”
STIs, which stands for sexually transmitted infection, are at an all-time high right now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are approximately 20 million new STI infections each year in people 15-24. Conversations about having safer sex and using a condom properly will hopefully lower the number of people getting STIs.
Falby said it is important for students to be informed so they don’t spread STIs and cause unwanted pregnancies. Many mishaps can happen during intercourse; one example of this is when the vaginal canal is not properly lubricated and microscopic tears occur. Likewise, the condom could break or rip during intercourse when there is too much friction and not enough lubricant, which could lead to unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STIs.
It’s still not been decided how the condoms, lube, and dental dams will be distributed at U-32. “I want it to be out and visible,” Falby said, “I don’t want it to be hidden in the dark.” Each of the three items will come with instructions on how to use it and what the risks of using it are. While the purpose of condoms is well-known, dental dams and lube may not be as widely understood. Falby explains that all schools that have a “condom” policy offer all three things, stating, “Not everyone has a penis and not everyone’s going to have sex with a penis.”
When asked, most students understand what condoms are for and agree with their accessibility at U-32. According to one senior, students “will have sex regardless if they have a condom or not– at least now they will have the option to be safe.”