SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CBS Connecticut/AP) — The Springfield School Committee has approved a policy that will provide students as young as age 12 with condoms if they request them.

Supporters of the measure passed 4-3 Thursday night say it’s a way to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Students in city middle and high schools will have access to condoms beginning Sept. 1 through school nurses and school health clinics. The students will be required to undergo counseling, including a discussion of abstinence and information on how to use and store the condoms.

“I’m so happy – I can’t wait to celebrate,” health educator and parent Christie Torres told The Republic. “We don’t need any more teen parents, we just don’t. With this is going to come education, and that’s the biggest thing.”

The policy also includes an “opt out” provision that allows parents to sign a form that denies permission for their children to obtain condoms.

Some people argued that condoms should only be available to high school students.

“I am opposed to free condom distribution in our public schools, most especially in our middle schools,” parent Matthew Ferri told The Republican. “I believe that access to free condoms in our middle schools and at such a young age will only fuel sexual experimentation and encourage sexual activity. It is a permissive policy and moral restraint should be the guiding posture here.”

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