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New condom program considered for city high schools

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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The Buffalo Public School District is considering a free condom distribution plan.  In this Focus on Education report WBFO'S Eileen Buckley says this is in response to troubling data youth behavior.

"There's no school or any part of the city that's immune to children engaging in risky behaviors," said Will Keresztes, Associate Schools Superintendent for Student Support Services Will Keresztes. 

"There's no school or any part of the city that's immune to children engaging in risky behaviors," said Will Keresztes, Associate Schools Superintendent for Student Support Services Will Keresztes.

The Buffalo School Board has agreed to consider outreach efforts for a condom distribution program.  The district-wide data is indicating an increase in the number of students who are sexually active.  But in order to expand the program for all high schools the district would need approval from the New York State Education Department.  

Keresztes said it is important to reach out to the community and parents.

"We want to take a very comprehensive approach to this," stated Keresztes.  "The board will have to interact with all the feedback that we are going to get. The board will take the time that it needs to evaluate that feedback from parents, students and other stakeholders.  Most importantly there is parental engagement, so obviously parents get to opt out of this policy if they chose."

In some Buffalo Schools -- where pregnancy prevention programs and clinics are in place - students already have access to condoms at some Buffalo Schools.  Keresztes says putting condoms in high schools could help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases..

"At any give time, we are aware of at least 200-students that are pregnant or  are about to b e parenting teens.  My estimate is it usually lands between 200 and 400.

Current data indicates that 44-percent of city high school students are having sex, while 35-percent are not using protection.  Keresztes calls it troubling,  but doesn't consider it alarming.  He noted it's not a unique problem to urban populations and is something that involves young people all across all demographics in the U.S.