DISPENSING CONDOMS TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
According to a recent article “Making the Case”, the Santa Barbara school district board has been considering distributing free condoms to high school students. The implementation of this program means that condoms will be distributed non-discriminatorily to any students who need them. Perhaps the board could also provide secure havens where students will be conducting sexual experiments. According to the article, availing free condoms to students will have a long-term impact of preventing increasing levels of unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The turning point of this decision is that no plans of parental consent or prior sexual counseling have been put in place. Some people undeniably support the board’s program by arguing that the decision will help combat the pandemic of STDs and the rising levels of teenage pregnancies. However, the decision of distributing condoms to the teenagers will be an act of taking away powers inherent in parents of taking care of their children. In particular, providing condoms to high school students will only worsen the situation rather than taming it “…it is essentially promoting a behavior that it should be helping to reduce” (p 281).
It has been universally agreed that high school students are active in sexual encounters and in any case, the prevalence of STDs and teenage pregnancies is increasing. This has been reckoned in a report by the Guttmacher Institute where about 60 percent of teenagers in their senior year in high school have already had sex (p 281). On real terms, the use of condoms reduces the spread of STDs and prevalence of unwanted pregnancies. Then, one wonders whether it is the responsibility of the board to distribute condoms to these students. Providing condoms for supposedly safe sex would be tantamount to giving students the go ahead to indulge in the activity at will. It is also true that many students of high school age smoke marijuana and drink alcohol. Equally, the school board should provide pure grade marijuana and school-based clubs so that students do not rot in facilities provided outside. Therefore, providing condoms will be admitting to the students’ wayward behavior and only directing them to do it in a more responsible manner “we know you are going to have sex, we accept the behavior, and we want to help you be responsible about it” (p 281). However, according to this article, the correct message for a teenager would be to abstain.
Students as young as in lower high school level have been exposed to literature on research findings on teenage sex issues. Among them is that by the time students reach their higher levels in high school, more than 50 percent of them tend to have engaged in sex. Recommendations that accompany these findings propose particular programs that would reduce the rate of sexual encounters among teenagers. In addition, the current generation curriculum contains classes on the dangers of teenage sex. It has therefore come into limelight that the board’s proposition is in conflict with what students are being taught in class. To avoid issues of STDS and pregnancies as voiced by the board, students are taught to practice abstinence. To this effect, the board is sending mixed message to the students by encouraging them to say yes to sex so long as they use condoms. In addition, distributing condoms to schools will be accepting the fact that the extent of the behavior cannot be reversed. However, the school board should be inclined to the positive side of less sexual activities rather than more. The author of this article argues that, “by dispensing condoms to students, however, they slant the change in the direction of more sexual activity rather than less” (p 281).
The school board is on the right path in trying to implement some of the strategies that can be used to prevent the prevalence of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. In particular, the use of condoms reduces the most common negative consequences associated with sexual activities by 60 percent. However, by providing condoms, the board will not be sure of reducing the prevalence of the phenomena. In this, there are factors that drive teenagers into giving in to sexual activities. For instance, teenage girls are normally under pressure not to undermine their boyfriends by declining to have sex “…279 teenage girls they interviewed, many said they’d given in to unwanted sex…” (p 281). According to the author, rather helpful programs would be organizing for separate counseling classes for both boys and girls where boys are advised not to force girls into having premature sexual activities. On the other hand, girls would be taught on methods of avoiding the boys’ sexual approaches (p 281).
According to a report by the Gallup Group, for many years ago, a big percentage of the American population smoked cigarettes. However, a recent research conducted by this group found out that this trend has declined tremendously. According to this article, the reason behind people quitting cigarette smoking has been the widespread national campaigns with the message of the dangers of smoking. When large numbers of men and women used to smoke recklessly, the government of the United States did not admit that the behavior was irreversible. In actual sense, the health ministry did not recommend low-nicotine cigarettes. In this case, providing condoms to high school students is like an act of prescribing low-nicotine cigarettes to smokers. Instead, stop-teenage-sex campaigns would be the most appropriate strategy in curbing the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. According to this article, the government and the health ministry “…strongly advised smokers to stop” (p 282). Therefore, considering the role of the board in shaping the behavior of high school students, it should never be inclined to support any of their wayward behaviors, be it sex, alcoholism, or drug use. Generally, teenage sex is morally unacceptable and thus it should not be propped by providing condoms.