Some students and teachers may be embarrassed or uncomfortable with the topic of sex and condoms, but that doesn't decrease its need to be addressed. Condoms are no doubt a practical way to protect sexually active teens from disease and unplanned pregnancy. Having a distribution program could make it easier for those teenagers to get condoms and possibly increase the use of condoms among teens having sex. However, some believe that the program would only add to the pressures teens are already facing to have sex.
There is one thing that advocates and opponents of condom distribution agree on: abstinence is the best way to prevent the spread of diseases and unplanned pregnancy. However, intense debate goes on about how a condom distribution program would affect teenagers. Opponents of the program believe that teens are exposed to pressures from the media which makes them feel like they are expected to have sex. A two-year study by the American Academy of Pediatrics supports this. The study showed that 12- to 14-year-olds who were exposed to sex through music, movies, television, and magazines were twice as likely to become sexually active within two years. Opponents believe that condom distribution contributes to this message that teenagers are expected to have sex.
Advocates, however, believe that exposure to a condom distribution program would not increase sexual activity. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2003 the percentage of students having sex in New York versus Nebraska are about equal, around 40-42 percent. New York has a condom distribution program, and Nebraska does not. But New York isn't more sexually active than Nebraska is. New York does, however, have a higher percentage of sexually active teens using condoms; in New York it is 10% higher than in Nebraska. So if anything, a condom distribution program promotes safe sex.
The difficult thing about this issue is that both arguments are legitimate. Each teenager will be affected differently. Some teens may think a program like this is a great idea, whereas others may feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. This is why a condom distribution program may be right for some schools but not others. For this reason, I believe the federal government should leave it up to the states. It may even be a decision given to the school boards.
Now is this a good idea for Papillion La Vista South? To determine this, I would suggest polling the student body. After all, the students know best how they would be affected by the program. The poll itself would be anonymous and have questions such as: Are you sexually active? Do you feel pressured by the media to have sex? If you are sexually active, do you use contraceptives? Do you think Papillion La Vista South should have a free condom distribution program? Would having a condom distribution program make you feel pressured to have sex?
Depending on answers to these questions, we can decide if the program would be a good thing for the school. What we cannot do is ignore the issue of teen pregnancy and disregard a possible solution that could benefit so many students.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Should Papillion La Vista South Have a Condom Distribution Program?
at 11:32 PM