About 100 outraged parents demonstrated outside the St. Albert Separate School board office March 14 to protest the installment of condom machines in the system’s two high schools.

St. Albert is one of the few places in Western Canada where the separate school is not for Catholics but for Protestants.

According to Peter Heaton, a spokesman for PAVE (Parents Advocating Values Education), the board had previously turned a deaf ear to parent’s impassioned requests not to bring condoms into the schools. There’s a lot of anger as a result, he noted.

One high school student in this community just north of Edmonton recently died of AIDS, and the school board claimed as its rationale that access to condoms might save another teen from a similar fate, Dr. Heaton told The Interim.

But “the impossibility of using condoms as protection from STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) should be readily apparent to anyone who knows what a leaky vessel the condom is,” he remarked.

St. Albert is the first district in Alberta to install condom machines in high schools, according to Dr. Heaton. He noted that the Province’s Ministry of Education James Dining stated publicly that such an action was unwise and not to be encouraged. The Interim could not reach the Minister for comment.

PAVE organized specifically to fight the board on its condom decision, but the group is now discovering the battle lines are shifting.

“The condom issue is a manifestation and logical extension of the whole sex education issue,” Dr. Heaton pointed out, adding, “We really see the hand of Planned Parenthood behind much of the sex ed now being taught in schools.”

A study revealed that 12 per cent of St. Albert’s students are sexually active, Dr. Heaton told The Interim. “I think we have to look at what’s going on beforehand.” In Grades 7, 8, and 9 students “are being taught some pretty explicit material.” The changes in the sex ed curriculum have been going on quietly “without fanfare” over the years and parents are just now beginning to realize what their children are being taught, he said. All the board’s studies and research projects are merely “reinventing the wheel” Dr. Heaton noted. “God came up with the solution already. It was proclaimed on Mount Sinai.”