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Los Angeles Board Adopts Condom-Distribution Plan

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The Los Angeles school board last week adopted by a 440-3 vote a plan that allows condoms to be distributed in the district's high schools.

Under the measure, the district's approximately 132,000 students in grades 9-12 will be allowed to receive condoms at 54 high schools and at 49 alternative programs. Parents may block their child's receipt of a condom if they send a letter to the student's school.

With this vote, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest district, joins more than half a dozen other local school systems that have either enacted or are in the process of developing condom-distribution plans. (See Education Week, Dec. 11, 1991.)

The New York City system, the largest in the country, began distributing condoms to students in several high schools late last fall. All of the district's 120 high schools are expected to begin distributing condoms to students, who will be allowed to receive the prophylactics without their parents' knowledge or consent, by the end of the school year.

School officials in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Falmouth and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., have also agreed to make condoms more available to students on school grounds.

The condom proposal approved by the Los Angeles board last week was a scaled-down version of a measure originally offered by a blue-ribbon task force on AIDS education last June.

That panel had recommended that condoms be distributed to both junior- and senior-high-school students without parental consent. District officials were instructed to come back to the beard with a plan for implementing the new policy as soon as possible. Ria Parody, a spokesman for the district, said board members hope distribution of the condoms can begin within the next several months.

The policy contains no information about the procedure for distributing the condoms or about how the district will pay for them.

At the meeting, which followed five community meetings about the condom proposal and 11 other proposals relating to AIDS education, the board also voted to boost training about AIDS for school personnel, develop strategies for high-risk youths, and establish a community parent outreach program.

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