With the rather dramatic increase in teenage pregnancies and the higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases in recent years, the issue of safe sex among teenagers has been thrown into the national spotlight. One of the many potential fixes for this problem is in school condom distribution. This proposal has gained the favor of many anti AIDS groups because of its promises to increase condom usage among sexually active teenagers. However, it is my belief that the drawbacks of distributing condoms in school far outweigh any potential benefits to the students.
The distribution of condoms in school gives the image that the school is in favor of sexual activity among teenagers. It is my belief that most (if not all) teenagers are not ready for sex; by the schools distributing condoms it is essentially endorsing sex among students. This is completely wrong, the image of the school should not be to endorse sexual activity, but rather to teach the students about its potential dangers and nudge them towards following abstinence.
If one truly believes in distributing condoms freely, then schools are not the correct place. Not only does school condom distribution create an unhealthy environment, but there are other places such as health clinics and such that are more appropriate places for birth control devices and will also allow the condoms to reach a wider variety of people besides simply students. If condoms are to be distributed freely to students, why limit them to students and instead distribute them freely to all people?
The other qualm that I have regarding the distribution of condoms in school is that there is no guarantee that it will be effective in increasing the usage of condoms among teenagers. Of those teenagers having sex, there are many who do already use condoms, obtaining them by buying them at a pharmacy or some other store. The teenagers who practice unsafe sex are already aware of the existence of condoms and make a conscious decision not to use them. While the distribution of condoms in school will make it easier for these students to obtain condoms should they decide they want to use them, it appears that many of them have made the decision to practice unsafe sex already. There is no guarantee that ready availability of condoms in school will make them more likely to use them.
If condoms are not to be distributed in school, then certainly some other measures are necessary to fix the problem of pregnancy and the spread of STD’s among teenagers. Rather than in-school condom distribution, I suggest an intense push by educators to teaching their students to follow abstinence. In this era of extremely high levels of STD’s, the only truly safe kind of sex is to abstain from having sex altogether. This is exactly what the students should be taught in schools. Most students already have a Health Education class in their school and focusing on abstinence would have a tremendous impact on the level of sexual activity of the average student. This gives the exact opposite message to students that distributing condoms does. Distributing condoms endorses sex whereas teaching the benefits of abstinence teaches students that sex is only appropriate with the correct person at the correct age.
The idea of in-school condom distribution has only one benefit but many other factors that indeed make it harmful to the students of that school. There are numerous substitutes for in-school condom distribution that do much to help with the problems of teenage pregnancies and infection by STD’s but these solutions have few of the problems caused by condom distribution inside of school.