City high school students in Rochester will soon be able to get condoms at their schools.
The Monroe County Department of Public Health cited high rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease among young people in the community.
The condoms will be available in health clinics in city high schools, and health professionals will provide information about the proper usage and risks of sexual behavior.
We checked in to local STD and birth rates to see how they compare.
Erin Bortel, the director of the Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program, says although pregnancy rates are down across the nation, they are still alarming in some parts of Central New York. Bortel says the 13204 area code has the highest teen birth rate in the entire state of New York. She also says there has been a spike in chlamydia and gonorrhea in the Syracuse area .
Bortel says she thinks condoms in schools may help the problem.
"As adults, we have to realize teens are going to engage in the activity, whether or not we're talking to them about it," says Bortel. "Our premise is if they're going to do it, at least make sure they're doing it safely."
We asked some parents what they think of Rochester's new policy, and there were a mix of reactions.
"You can't stop people from having sex, but you can keep people aware and educate them on how to protect themselves from all the different diseases that are out there," says William Jenkins, who has four kids.
"I don't think it should belong in schools," says Kelly Hakes, who has three children. "I think the parents are the ones that should be involved in their children's activities, and I don't think it should come from the schools at all."
What do you think of this policy? Would you like to see condoms distributed at local schools? Post your comments below:
Information from our affiliate in Rochester was used in this report.