Catholic School Gets City to Remove Massive Condom Billboard

The administrators of a Catholic school have successfully demanded the city to remove an enormous condom billboard plastered directly within view of school classrooms, the Boston Herald reports.

The enormous advertisement is a picture of two hands holding a condom with the question, "Are you using?" Underneath the picture is written in smaller letters, "I am. Use a condom. Know your HIV status. Call for a free test." It then lists the AIDS Action Hotline number. "The Boston Public Health Commission" is printed at the bottom.

Kim Mahoney, vice principal of St. Kevin elementary School, stated in the Herald, "I just don't think it's appropriate."

"We're instilling good Catholic values even though all our students are not Catholic," Mahoney said. "I don't feel that at this age it's appropriate to be throwing that out at them to see everyday — especially when they're sitting in religion classes."

The billboard was part of a $100,000 safe-sex campaign that the Boston Public Health Commission launched during gay pride week this June. The initiative included advertisements in public stations and on buses.

The poster outside of St. Kevin's was put up this early this summer while children were still in school. Students from Grades 5 to 8 are able to see the advertisement from the classroom window each day. "Students can look right out at it while they are sitting at their desks," said Mahoney.

Outraged by the enormous billboard, Catholic teachers and administrators from St. Kevin's contacted Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and complained. Vice principle Mahoney also contacted Boston representative Marie St. Fleur, who in turn told the Public Health Commission that the placement of the billboard near a Catholic school was "inappropriate."

The Herald reports that both the Commission and the Mayor pledged that the billboard would be taken down before children return to school in September. It is set to be dismantled next week.

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