Focus on sex education in schools

Carol Martindale,

Added 28 February 2011

thepoll

Children should be going to school to learn, not to have sex. This was the concensus of many who responded to the issue of condoms in schools, which surfaced over the weekend. Regional educator Virginia Albert-Poyotte, who is coordinator of the Castries-based Education International said she believed condoms should be distributed in school as part of the battle against the spread of HIV/AIDS. While some Nation online readers supported the move, they made it clear this should be complemented with a sustained sex education programme, which sensitizes students to the consequences of early and unprotected sex. Many also believed that instead of putting condoms in schools, there should be a message of abstinence. Then some simply said no. On Sunday, Albert-Poyotte said the issue must be tackled since advocating that students exercise safe sex or abstinence could not be considered a guarantee. "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,” she said. She, however, noted students must still be encouraged to stay away from sexual activity. Online readers weighed in on this during a Nation Talkback on the issue yesterday. This is what some had to say. Coretta Joe: “Nonsense. School children should be going to school to learn and not have sex. If condoms are distributed in school, children will think that it's fine to go to school and have sex instead of concentrating on their work. This is absolute craziness.” Del N-Houle said: “Don't encourage kids to sex. Give sex education instead! Marilyn Ross-Tbeur: “I would rather the support of abstinence, but these days many of these young people will do whatever they want so in this case hopefully the next best thing would be the use of condoms.” Susie Capone: “I am convinced that children are bent on doing what they want to. The idea of making choices based on information gained through education has become obsolete. The time has come to stop telling and observe what will happen. We give books and education is rejected. What logic says that giving condoms will encourage safe sex? It might very well have the opposite effect.” John Fayne Cleaver: “This is a brilliant an overdue idea. Issuing condoms to 14 year olds and up is a great way to reduce underage pregnancy. Combine this with a fully inclusive HIV/AIDS education program and potentially you have an effective campaign…” Virginia Barrow: “Our children are our future, so help them to protect themselves”. Margaret Ross: “Not all of our children are having sex, but those that do, if given the opportunity to have a condom to use, would definitely be protected against unwanted pregnancies and STDs…” Rosanne Brathwaite: “Whether or not we want them to have sex they are going to, and I'd rather have them practice safe sex than having the island overrun with HIV/AIDS.  Just because they make bad choices doesn't mean they should have to die for it”. Al Wright: “Schools are a facility to educate the young not assist them in an act meant for grown ups. Teach children the responsibility of their actions, teach kids that unprotected sex can be deadly,  teach kids the anatomy of the body and the result of becoming a parent at too early an age, teach kids the morality of life and encourage them to be decent and well serving members of society. Get the church and community involved in these factors of life and leave the distribution of condoms to the Department of Health and Human Services.” Leanne Fisher: “The best education about sex should come from the home. We have to teach our children that unprotected sex has consequences - whether it be a disease or an unwanted pregnancy. I believe more emphasis should be made on teaching our children that sex is not something to be given away to the first person who whispers the words "I Love You"! or  "I won't love you anymore if you don't have sex with me!" Philip Newman Matthews: “Sex education should be given to let them know what dangers are out there, but how will you give out the condoms?  The schools in Barbados do not have school nurses, so who will be the distributor that will help to prevent teen pregnancies”. Log on to the Nation's Facebook page for more comments.

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