Bisbee, Arizona used to be known as a peaceful old mining town, but the city that was once rich in tradition is now rife with controversy.
Against the wishes of several area parents, the local Bisbee School Board voted this week to include condoms in the “prom bags” it gives away to teenagers at the annual dance. By a 4-1 majority, administrators gave their official blessing to a night of sexual indulgence.
Only one board member, Millicent Kasun, had the good sense to vote against the idea. Despite all the hype, the local newspaper covered the story with the same nonchalance it must reserve for the weather report. “Students attending the Bisbee High School Prom will be given gift bags containing pictures frames, candles, mints, and two condoms.”
Local residents were far less reserved. “All that the policy does [is] condone and approve short-term, immediate satisfaction,” wrote Chuck and Sharon Tuell. “Your decision is obviously short-sighted.”
Other families were “appalled” to learn that these are their tax dollars at work. What has historically been a hallmark high school dance has been transformed into a teenage sex fest by the district’s governing board.
Making contraception available at prom would have been outrageous enough, but forcing it on 16-, 17-, and 18-year-olds gives kids both a false sense of security and a demeaning message about virtue. One in five teen couples who uses a condom becomes pregnant, and others are at risk of contracting anything from HPV to HIV.
Moms and dads should be enraged that the school board is substituting its judgment for theirs. Not only does this decision undermine the values that most children are taught at home, but it trespasses on sensitive family turf. It’s time that residents remind this school board that their role is to teach children—not raise them.
To register your disgust, contact Bisbee Superintendent Paul McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (520) 432-5381 (ext. 4204). If it happens in a town like Bisbee, it could happen at a high school near you.
Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council. This op-ed is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.