Doctors back plan to make condoms available in schools

Kayla Olivarez, a senior at La Feria High School, admits her mother talked to her about the birds and the bees.

"It's a responsible thing to do," she said.

Her health class teaches about abstaining from sexual activity and the risks associated with having sex.

Kayla's mother, Nellie Olivarez, believes condoms, which protect against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, should be available to teens in school.

"There are so many young girls out there starting in junior high getting pregnant having not one but two kids," she explained. "That's just ridiculous in my opinion."

A committee with the American Academy of Pediatrics recently said schools are a good place to make condoms available to teens.

To be most effective, they should also be accompanied by sex education programs, the committee said.

And while many Rio Grande Valley school districts teach students sex education, there is still resistance when it comes to access to condoms in schools.

But studies suggest teenagers who have access to condoms and comprehensive sex education actually start having sex later than their peers who don't.

The La Feria Independent School District follows a conservative approach to sex education and has no immediate plans to bring condoms on campuses, according to administration.

Cindy Torres is assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

"In La Feria, we stress abstinence in our district," she explained. In fact, we go a step further and any time we do talk about anything related to sex education we have parents sign off giving permission that it's okay for their child to be a part of that discussion in that classroom whether it's a science class or a health class."

Kayla's glad she has her mother's guidance.

"There are consequences to having sex at a young age," the student said.

She fears for many of her peers who may be unprepared for practicing safe sex.

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