What would happen if your son or daughter came home with an unexpected guest, or two? The subject of distributing condoms in schools, debated for many years, needs to be allowed with today’s generation. Increasing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) is becoming an epidemic. Parents and religious groups teach teen abstinence, which if followed would be effective, but in reality it is not what is followed by most teens. Abstinence does not give teens the knowledge of what to do when the time comes. Schools try and educate teens about safe sex and condoms. The question now is; should condoms be distributed in high school? Increasing teen pregnancies and the spread of STD’s needs to stop, and not only that, but most teens don’t use a condom out of embarrassment or lack of availability. Come on, studies have shown that the worst thing providing reliable protection can do is not change any rates at all.
What is the best way to stop the spread of STDs and teen pregnancy? Providing condoms! Today’s generation of teenagers are contemplating engaging in sexual activity, 17% of girls and 29% of boys have had participated in intercourse by the age of 16 (Singer 1994). Furthermore, with all of the people engaging in intercourse, 47% of encounters failed to have a condom. Therefore, it is not surprising that there has been an increase in HIV infections between 13 and 20 year olds (25%) (Brown, Pennylegion, and Hillard 1997). 69% of parents agree with the availability, but still want to have a say in when they would allow their children to obtain one or not. In fact, 85% of 931 students agreed with the availability at school. Condom use is the #1 method of STD prevention, so what better than to give protection to those in need?
Besides, most teens don’t use condoms because they are actually too embarrassed to obtain some outside of school. Today, sexual responsibility means using a condom to prevent disease and pregnancy. If teenagers are too shy in their efforts to acquire condoms, pregnancy and diseases will be the result, not abstinence (Singer 1994). Besides, condoms don’t even increase the sexual activity rates in teens. To prove this, one website (www.datalounge.com) compared the sexual activity and condom use between New York students (in a high school where condoms were distributed), and Chicago students (in a school where condoms were not available. The sexually active New York students were most likely to have used a condom in their last sexual act. The rates of sexual activity did not differ or change throughout the study. This proves that condoms do not, in fact, increase sexual activity. After all, what’s the worst a condom can do?
Actually, the worst-case scenario is that the condoms do not show any change in pregnancy and STD rates. I already proved that there would be no change in sexuality rate, but nevertheless, some kids attitudes after having condoms remained the same or became less favorable (Schuster et. Al, 1998). Some researchers even found that condom distribution was harmless yet effective, while others found no results at all. Even though most studies have been inconclusive, the studies that have shown results have sent a positive message to sex educators.
The only thing in the way of implementing this change in our schools is religious and abstinence groups. They are still under the impression that by giving students an opportunity for responsibility, it dirties their minds and increases their sexual desires. Religious programs also try to drill abstinence into teen’s heads, which will not work in most cases. Humans are naturally curious and mischievous, and I am almost certain that many teens will go against their strict teachings. However, this is the downside to abstinence programs, that when the child wants to have intercourse, their teachings will not prepare them for sex. The individuals will be pretty much clueless, which leaves a greater chance for error. Not only that, but repeated studies have shown that passing out condoms in schools does NOT increase intercourse rates. Furthermore, instead of religious abstinence programs (I’m not saying that I am for teenage sex, and religious programs are perfectly fine for not wanting pre-marital sex) the groups need to have their first resort as regular sex education. They can teach both ways and still keep their pre-marital sex rules. In addition, teenagers need to know how to use a condom because, when they lose their virginity, it could result in a surprise pregnancy because of abstinence programs not teaching them how to use a condom. Lastly, some are concerned that it will cost the schools too much money to have condom availability programs. Seriously?! Schools have been updating their technology over and over, costing millions of dollars for iPads and laptops in each classroom. These frustrating devices are unnecessarily updated every year. If the school districts wouldn’t keep spending their money grants on energy-eating devices, they could save a few bucks to buy some measly packs of condoms.
Overall, condom availability should be an option in schools because it is guaranteed protection (in the least). Private distribution would keep teens from embarrassment, and come on, the worst it could do is make the rates stay the same. Religious and abstinence groups are the only people holding us back, but what will today’s children know when their time is right without proper education? Surely, if the teens themselves want condoms in their school, why not accept their test of responsibility? It will surely save millions of dollars in abortions and shots for the precarious effects of sex. After all, what if your child walked through the door with some shocking, life changing news that may cost you more money and heartache than you could imagine? Wouldn’t you rather have something preventable available when your teen doesn’t reach out to you?