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The New Mexico Health Department is standing behind a sex-education teacher in Santa Fe who encouraged ninth-graders to taste flavored condoms.

According to a report in the Santa Fe New Mexican, parent Lisa Gallegos said that when her 15-year-old daughter balked at putting a condom in her mouth, instructor Tony Escudero told her, “Come on, sweetie, have a little fun.”

Also, Gallegos quotes her daughter as saying when a male student expressed his disgust with homosexual activity, Escudero said, “Never say never, because you never know. Someday you might like it that way.”

“I agree with sex ed 100 percent,” Gallegos, whose daughter attends Santa Fe High School, told the paper. “I also teach it here at my home. But I think that was inappropriate and wrong 100 percent.”

According to the report, Dorothy Danfelser, deputy director for the public-health division of the state Health Department, said she wrote Gallegos last week to say Escudero did nothing wrong.

“It had been investigated,” Danfelser told the New Mexican. “There was no wrongdoing. I have no more comment. … (Gallegos) may or may not agree with that, but that’s her prerogative.”

Both Danfelser and Escudero claim this was the first complaint he has received about his presentation, which he has been doing for years.

“He didn’t really tell them to just put (condoms) in their mouth,” Danfelser said. “What he does, basically, in his classes, depending on the age appropriateness of the class, is to try to get them … used to condoms and kind of destigmatize them.

“He tells them, if they’re comfortable, they can open up the packages, they can touch them, they can stretch them out and those kind of things. And he has told them, if they’re the flavored kind, they can go ahead and taste them if they want to. But it’s generally to desensitize the whole stigma of ‘Oh my God, it’s a condom.’”

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