Friday, December 28, 2007

Have a Good Weekend Children.

School isn't what it was when I attended Llanfair Caereinion High School. I must admit that it was some time ago, so change is to be expected. But I was a bit surprised to read in my Montgomeryshire County Times today that sixth formers are handed out condoms on a Friday night - ready for the weekend. And some weekend it promised to be in that the pupils were to be given six condoms each, plus lubricants. At least I assume this is what happens, because today's front page is devoted to the decision by the Headmaster of Welshpool High School to cut off their supply - to the consternation of at least some of the parents and the Terrence Higgins Trust. One parent told the newspaper "Personally, I think its disgusting they were not allowed then at 16-years-of-age. It is promoting unsafe sex". Mr Rob John, from the THT said that the free distribution of condoms did not tell children "they have to have sex". He added the observation "If they took condoms and lubricant into a school staff room, would the teachers all have sex". I promise you that I'm not making this up. And to think we used to do things like Latin and Algebra when I was in High School. I like the sound of headmaster, Jim Toal.

5 comments:

frankie said...

Jim Toal is an idiot! These were 16-18 year olds. How many of these young people are NOT sexually active? The whole purpose was to encourage them to practice safe sex. Remember Glyn, to our shame, we have the highest number of teenage pregnancies in Europe. Do Mr Toal and his ilk imagine that by depriving young people of condoms, they won't have sex? He needs to wake up and understand that this is the behaviour of young people (sex is quite a normal function, you know) and to encourage them to behave responsibly by using precautions. Not only against pregnancy, but against sexually transmitted diseases, which unfortunately are on the rise.

Glyn Davies said...

Frankie - are you really saying that you think it is the role of the state to supply schoolchildren with 6 condoms every Friday. Do you also think that the state should be distributing condoms to all other young people as well. And when the children have been encouraged to have sex (protected) on a regular basis, where are they getting their free supplies in the holidays. And don't parents have some reponsibility in all this. And at what age should this state sponsered encouragement to be sexually active stop. Why not university as well. And since we know that children today are becoming sexually active at much younger ages, why wait until they are 16. I wasn't in favour of free breakfasts, let alone free condoms. It may make me seem rather old fashioned, or even an idiot, but I'm with Mr Toal on this one.

frankie said...

Glyn, you miss the point. Frankly I don't care where condoms come from, as long as young people have access to free ones. Remember we have hopelessly inadequate Family Planning Clinics in North Powys - where are young people supposed to get them from? These are young people, NOT children, who are, as I said, almost certainly sexually active. Whether you like it or not - that is the reality, and we have a duty to protect them from pregnancy and STIs in any way we can - and if this means handing out free condoms on a Friday night - that's fine by me! This is not 'state sponsered encouragement' this is common sense. I am all for universities giving out free condoms too. Look at the facts Glyn - teenage pregnancies and STIs - we have to be proactive in trying to prevent these. Sticking you head in the sand, and pretending our young people are virtuous is not the answer!

frankie said...

Glyn, why do you say that giving young people access to condoms encourages them to have sex? This is nonsense. Have you forgotten what you were like when you were 16? I'm sure you didn't need any encouragement! It's a natural and normal function of us humans. Today, with so much media pressure, the age when young people experiment with sex is possibly getting younger. We have to respond to this no matter what we adults feel. As parents and health professionals we have a duty to protect,
guide and help our young people in any way we can. They will have sex whether they have condoms or not - and I for one, would rather they had free access to them at all times so that pregnancy and STIs are prevented.

Glyn Davies said...

frankie - I can see that you feel very strongly about this. I had already decided to seek a meeting with Mr Teal to discuss it - because I'm interested in the dynamics of 'cause and effect' here. I've no intention of projecting a moralistic opinion, but I do think that sex is a serious activity that should not be totally casual. And I think young people and parents should accept some responsibility for the decisions of young people to have sex, including paying for condoms. However, I suppose I can't have any objection if a charity decides to donate them - but it still leaves me feeling uncomfortable. Your intensity makes me all the more interested in testing my opinion about this.