Shrink Wrap Folly

Shrink wrap on a cucumber is never pretty (IPPINKA)

Shrink wrap on a cucumber is never pretty (IPPINKA)

If you live in Massachusetts and find yourself in need of a condom, give the Massachusetts Department of Public Health a call. They have roughly 40,000 to spare.

Almost that exact number of the latex donations was recently returned to the MDPH by Boston Public Schools—and all because of the wrappers the condoms were wearing at the time.

How’s that for irony?

Last year, the school committee adopted a policy that allowed high school students access to free condoms if they first received safe-sex counseling. Parents had the option of opting out if they preferred. And now it appears that some who opted in may be rethinking their decision.

Apparently, the packaging of each individual “shrink wrap” in the latest shipment of donations was deemed offensive by parents who found it inappropriate.

“I was deeply offended,” mother of three students Helen Dajer said of the questionable wrapping. “As a health care provider, I’ve given out countless condoms, but never any like these. The wrappers need to be neutral, maybe just blue or red, not these suggestive slogans, which are offensive to women.”

The condom wrappers in question (Twitter)

The condom wrappers in question (Twitter)

My personal favorites are the “busy beaver” and “hump one,” but she might have a point.

Needless to say, Boston school officials moved quickly and took to the airwaves to announce their efforts. Boston Public Schools Director of Media Relations Brian Ballou told WBZ NewsRadio on Thursday that the condoms would soon be “out of school circulation” in favor of some with “different, generic wrappers.” The state has even intervened and provided more condoms with dull, non-stimulating wrappers.

And maybe that’s part of the plan. After all, a condom in a boring wrapper might be less tempting to use than one with lots of flair. It seems like an even riskier proposition to me, though, because what if teens decide not to use them at all? Better to lure them into contraception through creative packaging than to drive them away, don’t you think?

Make the call, Boston Public Schools! It might not be too late to get those 40,000 condoms back!

Posted on March 8, 2014, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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