High school students in Shoreline push for free condoms on campus

SHORELINE, Wash. — A group of high school students in Shoreline has launched a public campaign to make contraceptives more accessible on campus.

18 year old seniors Jose Luis Gandara and Anna Grose came up with the idea during their senior civic project.

They needed to create a plan to promote positive change in the community, and the issue of unsafe sex in school is a huge concern.

“I had friends that have had pregnancy scares and have gotten STDs and honestly, if they had been using contraception, perhaps if that happened through the school it wouldn’t happen to them,” said Grose.

Gandara said free access to contraceptives would help students who wouldn’t get them otherwise for a variety of reasons from financial to social stigmas.

“There’s this idea that if you provide condoms it would lead students to have risky behaviors,” said Gandara. “But I don’t think it would really do that. If anything it’s to make sure that students are having safe sex and (being) responsible.”

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The students said they first approached their principal about the change, then the school board.  But in the last 2 months, they have received no clear answers.

We reached out to the Shoreline School District. They said administrators are considering the students’ request.

“I think they feel the urgency from students,” said Curtis Campbell, the school district’s public information officer. “But the students have to understand it will take some time.”

Campbell said with a potential new policy, administrators will have to consider how it will be carried out.

“Are we just handing the condoms out? Are we putting them in a bowl in the nurse's office? Do we have to provide other kinds of information to go along with it in regards to safe sex? It’s all considerations that need to be made before decision is made,” said Campbell.

Right now Shorewood High School has a partnership with International Community Health Services, a community clinic just blocks away from campus. This is where teenagers can get free contraceptives and information on reproductive health.

Students like Gandara and Grose say many students still don’t know about services at the clinic.

They created a video to promote it and also launched a petition to get community support for free condoms on campus. So far, they have gathered more than 200 signatures.

“I really hope things will change,” said Grose. “I think this would make a significant change in the way students approach sex.”