New York Teens FINALLY Get Schooled On Condom Use

Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
For a long time, kids in uber-liberal New York City were banned from learning how to use condoms in the classroom. High school students could learn what condoms are, but the full-on, banana-pull-over tutorial was a serious no-no. According to a Department of Education statement to The Classic (the student newspaper at Townsend Harris High School at Queens College), however, all that ended on Monday. This fall, hands-on safe-sex demonstrations will be added to NYC high school health curriculums for the first time, and students will receive information regarding the proper use and application of the contraception method. Although "sexual health education [is] part of comprehensive health education," according to New York City schools, wary parents will have the opportunity to "opt out" of the interactive presentations on behalf of their teenagers. (The opt-out policy is applicable to other classes with sex-related topics as well; these topics include HIV/AIDs, STD prevention, and birth control.) "In a year, being generous, I get about 20 kids for these demonstrations," health teacher Maria Assante told The Classic, highlighting the low number of students who sought out this information on their own; prior to this new policy, high schoolers could visit the "health resource room," where they could receive condoms and contraceptive instruction. Assante hopes this new addition to the curriculum, which she says "has been a long time coming," will allow more students to leave for college with material that will keep them both informed and safe. Melisa Garber, a health teacher at St. Ann's in Brooklyn with an MPH in sexual health, stresses how vital it is to learn the specifics: "In my experience, the details are really important," she tells Refinery29. "There are things that even adults might not think about, like [the condom's] expiration date, or not pinching the end of it to eliminate air and leave room so it doesn't break during ejaculation. The failure rate attributed to condoms is because of human error." Thankfully, Planned Parenthood took a stab at preventing unfortunate pickles with a handy, 12-step plan, located here.