Planned Parenthood's racy billboard upsets parents - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'Getting it on is free' billboard upsets school kids' parents

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The billboard, like this one, is part of the Free Condoms Memphis program through Planned Parenthood. The billboard, like this one, is part of the Free Condoms Memphis program through Planned Parenthood.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A racy billboard with a controversial message is in a spot that is upsetting the parents of the kids who have to see it every day.

A lot of South Park Elementary School students walk to and from class each day. About one week ago, a racy billboard popped up about 35 feet away, which happens to be in, but not in violation of, a school zone.

Dozens of students cross the street at Getwell Road and New Willow Road each day.

A billboard that pictures a condom with the phrase "Getting it on is free" stands tall right across the street from where Lenora Smannie's daughter walks home. The billboard was recently installed by Planned Parenthood to promote Free Condoms Memphis.

"They need to take it down and just put something else up," said Smannie.

But it is not just parents who find the billboard offensive.

Karen Wallace works at a church down the street and has been trying to get the billboard taken down since it went up.

"They chose a neighborhood that they feel is inner city, yes, there are problems in this neighborhood but they downgraded the neighborhood with their billboard," said Wallace.

On the other hand, some people understand why it is here, but say it should not be so close to the elementary school.

"Children do need to know but not like that," said Karl Christian "That's a little bit too much."

Planned Parenthood officials say they wanted the billboards to be edgy so people will remember them. The sign near South Park Elementary School is one of just 12 that has risen in recent weeks.

Planned Parenthood said the campaign appears to be working; last year, they gave away more than 100,000 condoms. More signs are planned to go up in the spring.

The organization released the following statement:

"A condom is not an explicit image, it is only a piece of latex. Children are exposed to much more explicit images every day on television, in commercials and in the movies. The consequences of unprotected sex are so very serious that our community must address them--it is literally a matter of life and death. Through this ad campaign, we are trying to promote healthy relationships and save lives."

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