Rabble-Rousing Rubbers? Bed-Stuy Prom Condom Giveaway Causes Controversy

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Prophylactics often cause polemics.

And this seems to be the case in Bed-Stuy, where a high school principal's decision to pass out condoms at prom has caused quite a bit of conversation.

"This is necessary," Darryl Rascoe, Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory High School principal, told the Daily News. "It's practical and it's the right thing to do."

Rascoe said he will also host a safe-sex assembly before passing out the condoms, which have been available at the Marcy Avenue school for three years, the News notes. The New York City Department of Education requires that high schools stock condoms, but parents can ask that their kids "opt out" of the program.

We reached out to the Department to see what it thought of Rascoe's plan. (We also called Rascoe to chat with him a bit, and are waiting for a call back.)

A DOE spokesman said that Rascoe is making condoms available at the prom exactly the same way they are made available to students in the school -- and at high schools across the city.

Bed-Stuy Prep, he said, partners with Teen Choice, which has an classroom office on the second floor. There, students can freely pick up condoms. Rascoe, according to the DOE, thinks that passing them out at prom is a natural extension of Teen Choice.

Last year, the DOE's Condom Availability Program passed out 680,000 condoms at city high schools. Two percent of parents opted out. The program was initiated in 1991, to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

And, just for your information, here are some more things besides pregnancy and HIV/AIDS that can result from unprotected sex, according to the Centers for Disease Control: bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis(viral), herpes(genital), human papillomavirus (HPV), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), syphilis, and trichomoniasis.

The CDC also notes that STDs cost the U.S. healthcare system $17 billion a year, the Voice's James King reported in April.

Some 50 percent of all new STD cases involve young folk between the ages of 15 and 24. In New York, 3,000 of every 100,000 people this demographic, according to 2010 stats. For gonorrhea, there were 600 cases per 100,000. With syphilis, however, there were a mere 10 instances out of every 100,000, for a total of 234 files statewide.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.


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