Prom is one of the most memorable nights of a teenager’s high school experience. It is also one of the most costly. Recently Seventeen Magazine and the Center for Disease Control collaborated on a survey that found teenagers spend an average of $720 between a dress, ticket, and limo. This doesn’t even factor in extras such as paying for dinner, getting your hair done, shoes, or corsages. That’s one pricey party!
Examining another aspect of prom, the survey also demonstrated some interesting figures. Out of 12,843 students asked, an average of 14% had sex on prom night. Almost everyone has seen a movie where a guy takes his date to a hotel room after the big night – but this doesn’t just happen in movies, it’s happening at real schools all over the country too.
Darryl Rascoe, principal of Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory School, recognized this reality and decided to let his Brooklyn, NY high school be the first to take up NV Healthcare’s offer of providing 500 free NuVo brand condoms to students at the Bedford-Stuyvesant prom on June 7th. NV Healthcare has offered similar deals to schools in the surrounding area, but none have taken up the offer. Bedford-Stuyvesant already participates in the NYC Department of Education Condom Availability Program, which provides students condoms in a Health Resource Room, and has a LYFE (Living for the Young Family through Education) day-care facility center.
However, after news of the controversial party favors the students would be leaving prom with got around, the school was the recipient of negative criticism from parents and media. Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, voiced, “We are concerned that the distribution of condoms on school campuses further normalizes teen sex.” Even though the condoms were not being forced upon the students, Darryl Rascoe telling MSNBC, “As they [students] leave the prom, they are welcome to it,” many parents and concerned citizens conversely believed that the decision for such moral values should be limited to the students’ parents.
Nevertheless, Rascoe eventually gave in to the criticism and rescinded the offer from NV Healthcare. Now the estimated 25 students expected to attend the prom will have to get their safe sex gear elsewhere. Many people are disappointed that the school’s principal gave in to the disapproval so swiftly. Not only would the condoms have been handed out, NuVo was sponsoring a safe sex school assembly for all 130 students a few days before prom as well as an essay contest on the topic of safe sex to be judged by the school’s English department.
Darryl Rascoe said the decision was due to the fact he didn’t want to break any rules placed by the Department of Education, although Education Department spokeswoman issued a statement, saying, “Making condoms available at prom would not violate the agency’s rules, as long as the kids’ parents signed release forms.” Will not having the condoms at the ready as students head out the door after their fun-filled night take their minds off of what they may have been already planning anyway? What do you think? Could Bedford-Stuyvesant Prep have been a leading example in supporting safe sex, or were they over-stepping their territory?