(CNSNews.com) - Students at 22 public high schools in Philadelphia will return from their winter break to find condoms available for the taking at the school nurse's office, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The pilot project is intended to address what one deputy mayor described as an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease in Philadelphia adolescents.
Philadelphia School District officials sent an email to school nurses, notifying them that the clear-plastic condom dispensers would be installed "just inside the doorway near the entrance to your office."
Parents who do not want their children to get condoms signed an opt-out form, which will be kept in the school office. But school officials said nurses will not monitor who takes the free condoms.
"Students are to honor the wishes of their parents," Assistant Superintendent Dennis W. Creedon reportedly wrote in the email message. "If a student disrespects their guardian's directive, that is an issue of the home," he said.
Two of the schools in the pilot project do not have full-time nurses.
The city's taxpayer-funded health department is paying for the free condoms.
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