When the Rubbers Hit Harwood

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Thank you.

Welcome back to hidden hardwood with your hosts, Nic Lord Ben Nardi, Scout bed Nash and Ella cook.

And this is when rubbers hit Harwood.

What’s your opinion on condoms being administered through the schools? Sounds fine to me, so long as they don’t let some weird teachers get their hands on first.

Like that one.

Oh my god. Thank you so much. And we’re doing a podcast about condoms. So if you’d like to condom

condoms, although it is it.

I don’t use them because

you need to have safe sex kids. This is condoms are a form of protection that can keep away unwanted STIs STDs and prevent the risk of pregnancy if you’re not ready for pregnancy.

Even if you’re on birth control, you should use condoms because birth control methods such as the pill don’t protect against STIs Thank you.

It’s actually true transmitted disease was never more urgent than in 1994. That’s when the fear of AIDS was gripping Harwood. The community was scared the country had never experienced anything like this yet. Most schools in the nation decided to give out free contraception to the student body. Based on statistics Harwood decided to enact this policy. Shaun dag was one of the most passionate safe sex leaders in this school at the time.

Fremont statewide policy requires schools to allow students grades seven through 12 access to condoms if their parent allows.

No Harwood is it serves a community that’s has a very high education level. We do live in Vermont, which is pretty progressive

place. There are some parts of the state where there was blowback but this was not something we mandated. This is something we gave School Board’s encouragement and the ability to do if they wanted to do it. And so I think this is the kind of thing that that the state shouldn’t mandate. But I do think that communities ought to have the right to do smart things for their kids as their kids grow up.

And, you know, the Conservatives always argue, well, these matters, sexuality being one of them should be discussed at the home. Yeah, they should be. And I think that in the hardwood district, that happened a lot, and that’s why the hardwood school board decided to do it.

Sean Howard, former governor story took place, he was very hands on in getting condoms accessible through the school.

So at the time, it is like, it’s hard to really put ourselves back in that place. But I actually think COVID gives a good analog for that. Like, it was actually a legitimately scary time as an adolescent at that point, with the AIDS epidemic, being

pretty rampant and not really like at that point, there was,

you know, there weren’t really much in the way of treatments like it was a death sentence.

And, you know, is there anything we can do to make

our community better? Um, you know, in all fairness, the idea for this actually germinated the year before. And so when we came in, there was like, the first hint that like, this is a thing that we could do. They had done some research on.

A few other school districts has managed to do this. Mostly, I think

In Colorado at the time, and so as like this is actually in the realm of possible nobody on the east coast have done it. But it was in the realm of, of possible. And he kind of brought that idea forward as, as those of us new in those roles came in, and as he was heading off to college.

So from the student perspective, I feel like there wasn’t much pushback.

Let us say that from the school board and parent perspective, there was substantial pushback, a lot of people you know, there are a lot of parents want to do the right thing. I mean, you’re really all we’ve got. So we want you to grow up well. And we may have some difference of opinion about how that might be. But most parents, especially in Vermont, want to listen to their kids, which, of course, in turn makes it easier for their kids to listen to them. So though, I mean, one of the byproducts of having condoms in the schools was it encouraged discussion of sexuality around the kitchen table, I think that’s a good thing.

You know, in the role of student advocate, I

was at most school board meetings, and we were kind of, like, slowly building and working support through there. But I distinctly remember, like, a pretty heated conversation that happened in the hallway, after a school board meeting with a couple of parents that were, you know, parents of kids, I knew

that were very outspoken against this and thought, like, we were destroying, you know, the world, like they were so vehemently opposed and trying to, you know, have a respectful

conversation in this context, where there’s a very different power dynamic there of like, you’re just a student, and these are, you know, influential parents.

We did work and interact, you know, a big part of it was demonstrating that, you know, first off, other schools had done it.

It had, like, been successful. There was some data, I feel like we actually had some real data about the fact that like, no, like, it didn’t cause like, teen pregnancies to go way up, like there was all this like, oh, all you know, all the kids are gonna be having all the sex now all the time. And that lesson is always the same. If you work at something hard enough, and you find enough older people who are sympathetic and convinced them, then you’re going to win