Nation e-Edition

Parents, teachers say no to condoms

Parents, teachers say no to condoms Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro.

By Carol Martindale | Wed, March 02, 2011 - 6:00 PM

Teachers and parents are saying no to the distribution of condoms in schools.

Heads of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Barbados National Council of Parent Teachers Association are totally opposed to the idea of condoms in schools, noting it was not the correct approach to tackling early sex among students.

The issue was raised by regional educator Virginia Albert-Poyotte, who said she supported calls for the distribution of condoms in schools to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.

President of the BUT Karen Best, however, said they would never support any move to put condoms in schools. In fact, she said the issue has never been raised, nor discussed at BUT meetings. Speaking as second vice president of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) she said the issue was never discussed there either.

“The BUT will never support it. The school is a place to go to be educated, not to be provided with condoms,” she said, strongly.

Instead, Best, said education programmes highlighting the consequences of early and unprotected sex, as well as a focus on abstinence, need to be ongoing in schools.

“I would never support putting condoms in schools. We have to focus on educating our children. We have to move some of the programmes from the television to places like Facebook and use that medium to reach our young people. We must keep the message of abstinence out there” she said.

Rhonda Blackman, who is head of the umbrella body of parent teachers associations, questioned the message that officials would be sending if condoms were indeed placed in schools.

“Education is the key to fighting HIV/AIDS. We need to educate our students. Yes, some of our students are sexually active but the distribution of condoms is not the answer. The distribution of condoms is the symptom, we have to treat the cause,” she added.

Blackman believes age-appropriate education is necessary, noting that in primary schools there is already a focus on health education, which also looks at HIV/AIDS.

The president said guidance counselors in secondary schools, in particular, also need to play their role.

“I also suggest the development of a committee where we have young people to do some peer tutoring in schools. If you get young people to speak out it would help drive home the message. We need to recognize that peer influence matters. ” she added.

Blackman said young people needed to be educated on the dangers of unprotected sex.

“If we distribute condoms we are saying it’s ok to have sex. It is a double standard. We need to preach the message of abstinence,” she said.

She said she has already received feedback from some parents who are saying “no way” to condoms in schools.

Antigua’s Education minister Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro also added her voice and disagreed with the suggestion.

“The distribution of condoms in schools will certainly not be a part of any policy in Antigua & Barbuda. The ministry will never endorse any policy of giving condoms to children,” Quinn-Leandro said.

Albert-Poyotte, who is also the coordinator of the Castries-based Education International educator, in raising the issue last weekend, said, “We are promoting abstinence for students as best as we can, but given the situation with our young people it is one thing to preach, but another thing to practice, and therefore we have to give them the alternative which is the use of condoms”.

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Posted by Mary Yearwood 3 years, 7 months ago
How does Ms. Albert-Poyotte still get to keep her job while expressing such a defeatist and nonsensical attitude to problems concerning school students? Did her suggestion solve the problems affecting St. Lucia's students?

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Posted by Baje 009 3 years, 7 months ago
Student sex is not a new phenomenon, it has been happening from the time they had schools. I speak to older people who would tell me it strikes back when QC and Combermere were girls and boys schools located next to each other. That was way before my generation and I graduated in the early 90's.
If these teachers oppose condoms maybe they will support distibuting diapers to the pregnant students.
Maybe we shouldn't say distribute maybe they would be more inclined to support making condoms available. I believe that all schools are supposed to have guidance counsellors and I would 100% support a programme that allows condoms to be made available to students through the office of the guidance counsellor. giving the counsellor a chance to speak to the student and make them aware of the consequences of the choice they are making.

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Posted by Pan Wallie 3 years, 7 months ago
Does the Barbados Family Planning Association still conduct its educational programmes in schools? What about it's peer counselling programme held at its headquarters?

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Posted by Mary Yearwood 3 years, 7 months ago
How many diapers did the teachers have to dole out to the QC and Combermere students who were located next door to each other?
Also, where is the parent(s') voice in this decision to provide their child with condoms? What about educating the students about failure rates? Would you also advocate providing free child care, etc. to these jobless children after giving them the go-ahead to engage in sexual activity?

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Posted by Lenyka Roban 3 years, 7 months ago
I graduated from secondary school in 2004 and the phenomenon of sexual relations at secondary school was not a new concept then and I went to an all girls institution in St. Vincent. I think that OLDER adults especially those in seniority positions should recognize that these issues shouldn't be swept under the rug and dealt with in a single manner, for example emphasizing abstinence only. I think instead of acting naive what should be done is an introduction of condoms in secondary school through some controlled medium as on person mentioned prior, a guidance counselor. The youths have changed instead of letting them self destruct help them preserve themselves, even if it means condoms in school.

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Posted by Pan Wallie 3 years, 7 months ago
@Baje 009: I see you have just arrived. Let me speak for those of the late sixties and early seventies.
Teenage pregnancy was rare. While there were a few who took up the challenge (or is it adventure) of 'going all the way,' most of us engaged in heavy petting, we knew when to draw the line. Why? We were interested in education and getting ahead, we respected ourselves and understood morality meant to make the boys wait and don't appear to be too fast and cheap (even if the urges killed); but most importantly we acknowledged our parents wishes to make them proud and struggled with our hormones with the full understanding that any fall out from their wishes, especially teenage prenancy, meant sudden death.

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Posted by Danille Springer 3 years, 7 months ago

Yes the BFPA's youth organisation (Youth Advocacy Movement) is very much active. However they can only go into schools when invited. The topics they can talk about are usually censured by schools.

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Posted by c holder 3 years, 7 months ago
It is sheer nonsense to keep promoting condoms as the solution for HIV'STDs and teen pregnancy.
The real problem is the mentality of children who are fixated on sex when they should be focused on education and positive activities like sports and community/church work.
Condoms don't curb promiscuity nor delinquency in schools.They can't change the minds or behavior of individuals.
HIV/AIDS has been around for 30 years and there is more knowledge available than ever. But the rate of infection keeps rising so we're still living like fools.
And condoms are widely available and cheap.
There are some teens who leave school with more birth certificates than CXCs...because they choose too.They know better. But the same taxpayers who wasted money on their education will support them and their children through the social services-starting with antenatal care.
And condoms are widely available and cheap.
So get real about the problem."Cause it's not the lack of condoms or education.

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Posted by Mary Yearwood 3 years, 7 months ago
For your info. Baje 009 and Ms. Lenyka Roban, I am a dual certified Special Education/Elementary Education teacher in New Jersey. I know that the concept of using guidance counsellors in school is a newer concept in Barbados. For your information, the job of a guidance counsellor is to guide a student in the direction of a good and meaningful educational and career choice...not to guide students on how to use contraception, etc.
Let the parents handle their own underaged children, and let the children practice self-control like most responsible underaged students do.

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Posted by shannon williams 3 years, 7 months ago
They could say no, but it is extremely uncomfortable for anyone to buy condoms when they purposely put them behind a counter for you to ask. Then the looks they give you, the other day a grown woman asked for a pregnancy test and they shout it loud in the store. Then if you don't distribute them at school trust me they won't use and then you will have a bigger problem

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Posted by Danille Springer 3 years, 7 months ago
@Mary Yearwood-
As qualified as you are you seem not to know that many things have changed. Firstly the term guidance counsellor is outdated, they are now called school counsellors. They do far more now than career choices. They deal with sexuality, sex education, self esteem, identity and a variety of other topics

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Posted by Pan Wallie 3 years, 7 months ago
@Danille: Thanks for your reply. It is a pity that this programme has been limited because our students do need this information (especially relating to STD's). Let us hope that those in Government who matter, pay some attention.

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Posted by Mary Yearwood 3 years, 7 months ago
No, YOU are the one that is incorrect Ms. Danille Springer...Name any school district in the US where you will find a guidance counselor (and yes, the spelling of counselor is correct in both instances) dispencing condoms to students. Yes, they do advise on a variety of issues, but they do not have any medical training whatsoever. Please enlighten me on your knowledge about a guidance counselor's job. description. In addition, name at least one school district in the US where you know guidance counselors to provide contraceptives to students. Even though the term school counselor is being more widely used now the title Guidance Counselor has not been officially changed. Also, Ms. Springer, enlighten us as to some of the many things that have changed to warrant this new responsibility on guidance counselors.

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Posted by Mary Yearwood 3 years, 7 months ago
Ms. Danille Springer, take note of the corrected position of the educator, Ms. Albert Poyotte, who was first featured in this article, and her corrected outlook of distributing condoms in schools. I would say that knowledge and common sense has won out, wouldn't you?

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Posted by Baje 009 3 years, 7 months ago
@ Mary
at what age did your parents have a real talk with you about sex? not the 'your body is changing' talk or the 'menstruation expectations' talk. I mean a real talk about sex and sexual activity!

if everyone is honest here then 99% will answer never and that is the reality of this situation. if you want to argue that condoms are not the right course of action then OK but dont be so short sighted or disillusioned as to think that suddenly parents will become cosmopolitan and start having these talks on a large scale in Barbados. your parents didnt have the talk so you dont have the talk and eventually your kids dont have the talk.

But the predators lurking outside the school gate very willing to have A talk to your kids about sex. if we can offset that with a counselor having the talk AND get them to have protected sex (WHEN) they make the bad decisions that teenagers who think they know everything do then that's the lesser of 2 evils and a huge step in the right direction.

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Posted by Mary Yearwood 3 years, 7 months ago
Baje 009, Please include yourself in the group of short-sighted people you spoke about. You are totally incorrect to assume that because our parents 'might not have' given us 'the talk', that our children will not receive it.
Instead of making the rash decision of giving schools the greenlight to provide contraceptives to students (and by the way, whose moral values will school personnel impart to the students?.) Have you even considered proposing mandatory parenting classes to help parents communicate better with their children on various issues, including sex education? Everyone must play a part...the children, parent(s), church, school community, etc.
I guess I picked on you first by going against your previous comment. Believe me, no harm was intended. Let's be sensible and cautious about this important situation.

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Posted by Baje 009 3 years, 7 months ago
Mary, I am fairly sure that i would be proven right in more cases that i am proven wrong regarding those who not getting 'the talk' not giving it.
and I am trying to be sensible here but i look at this situation as a choice between protected and unprotected sex for those already active while you and others see this as a choice between making condoms available school age children and keeping them abstinent.

the way i see it the abstinent ones will remain so while the AT RISK ones will have a chance to benefit and possibly save their lives and the lives of those they will go on to infect.

FYI this is a debate/argument where we both support or POV so no harm intended or received. I dont expect to change your mind neither do I expect you to change mine unless you can show me that your argument is more sensible than mine, and you havent done that yet grin

intelligent people argue, idiots can only quarrel.

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Posted by Mary Yearwood 3 years, 7 months ago
Baje 009, I never said that you were wrong on your first point. I agree with it. However, there are more students not engaging in sexual activity than are, and there has to be some way of discreetly identifying these children and pointing them in the right direction with the involvement of their parent(s). There should be a general biology class to educate all students about their bodies. I just think that by going down the road of distributing contraceptives is first morally wrong, and second, it is like inviting a kid into a candy shop.
It's nice to make your acquaintance, but I'm sure we are going to have a few more hot disagreements, since there are some other topics on which I gave an alternative viewpoint than yours...And don't worry, I might just succeed in changing your mind after you come to the realization that my argument and facts 'ARE' more sensible than yours.

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Posted by Lenyka Roban 3 years, 6 months ago
@ Mary Yearwood it was never my intention to belittle your opinion in anyway. However, we are all entitled to our own opinions. I was not looking for a consensus of minds on this forum. Okie Doaks lady.

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