Friday, November 13, 2009

Should Papillion La Vista South Have a Condom Distribution Program?

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.
~The Advocate


iambroken said...

I think our school should have a condom distribution program. It will promote safe sex instead of ignoring the fact that there are pregnancies and STDs happening. Some students might feel uncomfortable and it might ruin our school's reputation as the brand new, excellent academic systems and so on. But safety does come first, so I think there should be a condom distribution program at our school and the federal government should leave it up to the states to decide. Better safe than sorry.

Mr. Right said...

I definitely am oppposed to condom distribution in the high school. If you are old enough to have sex and want to try it, then you surely can handle buying your condoms at the store, can't you? If you are too cheap to buy them, then I am sure it would not be difficult to call around and find some that are given out freely by other groups, besides the high school.

As far as Safe Sex goes, there is really no such thing. Yes, sex maybe a bit safer, but how many of you would have sex with a person who had contracted AIDS, as long as condom was involved? I am guessing not many would give that a try. STD rates are very high among people in our age group See ( Do you really want to take that chance even with a condom?

The best bet is too quit watching shows and listening to music that, according to this post, contribute to higher rates of premarital sex. Garbage in, garbage out! Save it for your future spouse, so someday down the road you don't have to explain why you have this disease that won't go away.

Schools handing out condoms to students are giving into the idea that students are going to have sex. Humans have the ability to control their instincts. We are not wild animals. We are born with the ability to decide what is right and what is wrong. Make the right decision.

Sgt. Pepper said...

After seeing the last comment's seemingly Rosseau-esque argument for the inherent goodness and self-control of humanity, I would have to say this: that this problem has been around for ages, and it's not merely due to today's pop culture. (Though I do agree, some music and television can definitely send a bad message.) The truth of the matter is that sex is nothing new, and it's not always the younger generation's fault. People have been having pre-marital sex for quite some time now and people cannot always be trusted to "make the right decision," no matter how much we would like to believe that.

Mr. Right said...

Sgt. Pepper,

I didn't say that humanity was good or had great self-control. All I was trying to say was that people, unlike animals do have the ability to control their instincts. I would be stupid not to agree that this control isn't always put into use by humans.

Nor did I say that it was pop culture's fault. I was referencing the article's study, which apparently you did not read.

That being said, it is not the role of schools to aid those who have lack of self control, by giving out free condoms! If you want to have sex and think it is safer to have sex with a condom, then go to Walgreens and buy it or find some other group that will hand them out freely.

Schools should not be the place for this type of distribution. If this starts in schools, the next thing schools will be required to hand out is information on how to obtain an abortion.


Mr. Right

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Mr. Right. I don't believe the school should be wasting money on supporting sex, even if it is "safe". I'm not naive to believe that people won't continue to have premarital sex, but why help it? It's not only stupid, it's unsafe. I understand wanting to help prevent teen pregnancies and STD's but there's a simpler and cheaper way to do this, as Mr. Right pointed out. JUST SAY NO!

Sgt. Pepper said...

I didn't say I disagreed with you, "Mr. Right." In fact, I am completely on your side. I was just pointing something out to everyone.
Thank you, Sgt. Pepper.

The Capitalist said...

I firmly believe that the abstinence approach to sex education in schools cannot be effective in actually preventing teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs

@ Mr. Right:

We can acknowledge that STD rates are very high in Douglas county among teens. Why? They are having sex, that much is obvious. Rather than try to preach to them about the choice to abstain, why not give them a safer option? This would help reduce STD rates, unplanned pregnancies, and abortions. These are all things I think we can agree on that we would like to reduce, am I correct?

The Advocate said...

So the general feeling is not that a free condom distribution program itself is a bad thing, but rather that the high school simply is not the appropriate place for it. I suspected that would be the reaction, especially since the only ones who are likely to see this are honors students who aren't likely in this position. I would be very curious to see the response of the general student body. How do you think they would react?

The Advocate said...

Might I draw attention to Mr. Right's comment about buying condoms: "If you are too cheap to buy them, then I am sure it would not be difficult to call around and find some that are given out freely by other groups, besides the high school." The issue that most teenagers would have with buying condoms is not that they are "too cheap." It is that they are embarrassed to buy them, that they feel judged or insecure about buying them, etc. It is not a financial issue. Also, after doing some research, I can confidently say that it is pretty difficult to find a condom distribution program in Papillion. I went on the site and searched, but nothing came up when I typed in "condom distribution", "free condom", or "condom". (And just to be sure, I emailed the city to find out if we have a program at all. I will update again when they email me back with the answer.) I also checked the Omaha site, but I got the same results. Then I went to the official New York City website. When I typed in "free condom", several things came up about free condom distribution programs and places you can go for them. It is not easy to find a place in Nebraska where you can go for free condoms.

Mr. Right said...

@ The Advocate

Embarassed! Why would young, unmarried people be embarrased? Isn't it okay to have sex outside of marriage? If it is not wrong to have sex outside of marriage, then who really cares what people think?
The fact is that it is wrong to have sex before marriage and as a result those who choose to do so, seek to hide their actions.

Also, planned parenthood would be happy to help you "protect" yourself for free and then if it fails counsel you on your options.

Schools should not be involved at all with condom distribution. Taxpayer money should not be used to promote so called "safe sex".

I ask again how safe is it? Who among you would choose to have "safe sex" with a confirmed AIDS patient or a person who has contracted another STD?

The only safe sex is no sex before marriage.

Mr. Right

typhoid penny said...

Ok. If teens can't get condoms anywhere else, why shouldn't we help them to protect themselves. Because, let's be honest, teens aren't going to stop having sex no matter how much you preach to them. And shouldn't our main goal be protecting our students? Why wouldn't you want that? Also why shouldn't schools be the place to distribute them? We come here five days a week for seven hours. Where else are you going to reach that many teens? And they wouldn't be handed out, so much as available if you need them. Maybe someone isn't planning to have sex, but it happens. If this person had a condom from school, they would be protected. Schools are here to protect and guide us. Let them continue to do so.

The Advocate said...

@ Mr. Right:

You said: "The fact is that it is wrong to have sex before marriage..."

That is not a fact. It is an opinion.

Also, the lovely Nicole Brown from the city of Papillion has informed me that the city has no program for free condom distribution or councilling for sexually active teenagers. But she has given me the email address for the Sarpy/Cass Department of Health, and I asked them the same question. I will update again when they give me an answer.

Typhoid Penny brings up an interesting point. Why shouldn't school be an appropriate place for a program such as this? We spend so much time there, and where else can you reach so many teenagers? (Of course, this may be the reason why other people are opposed to the program.) Honestly, the point of the program is not to promote sex, and the condoms wouldn't literally be handed out to students. They would only be available to those who want them or need them. And many programs have it so that you can't get a condom without councilling. The program isn't for all students. It's for those who need it.

Mister T said...

Let's remember that a child in our district can't go on a field trip without a permission slip from a parent, so why should the district be allowed to deal out condoms? Would the teenager have to bring in a permission slip to pick up a condom? I think not. The district can't say they promote parental involvement if they have a double standard of permission for little things like field trips, but not requireing any permission for a teenager to pick up a condom, like what the advocate is proposing