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PrEP
October 2013 (To print, click the print icon on your browser
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Florida: Condom Coup Bars Pretenders to Homecoming Throne

By Emily Ike, SIECUS Program Research Intern

Just an hour’s drive east of Tampa, the Polk County seat of Bartow was the scene of a condom controversy involving two Mulberry High School students. Administrators from Polk County Public Schools barred Montana Fulkerson and Dalton Wiggs from eligibility to become Homecoming king and queen after learning that the teens had provided condoms to their peers as part of their election campaign.

Fulkerson and Wiggs decided to make condoms available as a way to stand out among the nineteen other couples running for homecoming king and queen. “We figured promoting safe sex wouldn’t be a problem – would be humorous. At the same time, some people found it inappropriate,” Fulkerson told local news media.[1]

During their campaign, Fulkerson and Wiggs offered student voters a bag filled with candy and condoms, inviting them to reach in and grab what they wanted. The condoms were labeled with a sticker that said, “Let’s Wrap This Up.”[2]

School district officials issued a statement saying, “When school administrators became aware, they immediately instructed the students to stop this inappropriate activity. Homecoming is an extracurricular activity and participation is a privilege.”[3] While school officials originally had barred the students from attending homecoming altogether, they later limited the punishment to not allowing the pair to run for king and queen.

“I’m really upset, to be honest,” Wiggs stated. “It took way too much and effort. And I’ve been waiting my whole high school career just to run for homecoming and then they deny it and disqualify us the day before voting? It just doesn’t make any sense.”[4]

A further note of irony to the controversy – given the school district’s message that condoms are inappropriate in the context of a social event that encourages romantic coupling – was the fact that Fulkerson has worn a purity ring since seventh grade: “I don’t believe in premarital sex. I don’t believe in just giving yourself up to just anybody.”[5]

Reaction to the school district’s decision appeared overwhelmingly supportive of the teens, judging by comments posted to the news website for WTSP 10 News. Typical of the comments was this, posted by an adult identified as Crystal Jenae Hollis:

“Where does it say in the rules that they can't pass [condoms] out? They're concerned about their fellow classmates. You want to hide the topic of sex, thinking it is inappropriate and impolite. But the teen years [are] the most important time to talk about sex, protection, options, and what is considered consent. Talking about it can help a teen avoid making crucial and often permanent mistakes.”[6]
 


[1] Isabel Mascarenas, “Mulberry High School Students Montana Fulkerson and Dalton Wiggs Banned from Homecoming After Handing Out Condoms,” WTSP 10 News, October 7, 2013, accessed October 30, 2013 at http://www.wtsp.com/news/reporter/article/338574/79/Students-banned-from-homecoming-after-handing-out-condoms.

[2] “Polk Teens Banned from Homecoming for Giving Out Condoms,” TBO.com -The Tampa Tribune, October 4, 2013, accessed October 30, 2013 at http://tbo.com/news/polk-teens-banned-from-homecoming-for-giving-out-condoms-20131004/.

[3] Mascarenas, “Mulberry High School Students…”

[4] “Polk Teens Banned…”

[5] Mascarenas, “Mulberry High School Students….”

[6] Ibid.

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