Washington, D.C. – D.C. Department of Health communications director, Najma Roberts, confirmed to CNS News that the department gave away 200,000 condoms in the District’s public high schools last year. High school in Washington, D.C. are made up of grades 9-12.
The condom distribution came as a part of the Wrap M.C. Program, a 3-year-old initiative aimed at expanding the practice of distributing condoms. There are 20 public high schools that serve 12,792 students. The nearly quarter of a million condoms handed out equals roughly 16 per student.
When asked if the students had to go through any special steps to receive condoms, Roberts responded, “The condoms are available at the student’s request. The Department provides condoms to school nurses and to other adult school staff through our Wrap MC program.” She added, “The program trains school staff on sexual health and condoms. It encourages the adult staff to engage young people with information about their sexual health. There is no counseling requirement for the program.”
The Wrap M.C. website, however, specifies that students can also be “certified” to “promote condom use among their piers.”
“For adults to distribute condoms, either school staff members or community providers conducting programming in the schools, they must complete the webinar, pass the post-test and provide a copy of their Wrap M.C. certificate to the school coordinator,” the website states. “Upon successfully passing the post test, HAHSTA will provide you with all materials needed to distribute condoms in the school.
“Students are encouraged to become a part of the Wrap M.C. program and become certified to promote condom use among their peers,” the website states. “They should speak with their Wrap M.C. coordinator at their school or community agency for information specific to their school or agency. HAHSTA [Health HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD& Tuberculosis Administration] will provide you with needed materials upon successfully passing the post test.”
Roberts confirmed that public high school students in grades 9 – 12 have access to free condoms and are not required to go through any process to receive them. Public schools in the District of Columbia received more than $175 million or almost 11% of its education budget from the federal government in 2009, the latest figures available from the National Center for Education Statistics.