To the Editor:
Timothy E. Vislocky (letter, March 2) argues that if schools distribute condoms because students will have sex with or without parental consent, schools might as well pass out cigarettes, "because children will smoke whether or not their parents like it."
The difference is that children need a cigarette in order to smoke; they don't need a condom to have sex.
Discouraging sex among high school students and making sure it is safe when it happens are two distinct goals. Each should be encouraged, but shortsighted opposition to condoms in schools achieves neither.
S. B. DETTMANN
Middlebury, Vt., March 2, 1999