By Guy Drew, father of two teenage boys who has experience teaching maths at primary and high school level. He is the local co-ordinator for the S.A.M.F Maths Challenge and part-time primary school cross country coach. You’ll find him tutoring maths to a diverse range of young people most of the time.
This is Guy’s response to an article entitled – Should we be giving our teens condoms by Mia Von Scha about the department of Education’s proposal to hand out condoms to kids without any parental consent.
Perhaps I am too involved in math and numbers but where an initiative of this nature is involved, I would feel more comfortable if numbers, rather than emotion were to play a more prominent part in such a decision.
Since scrapping my initial four responses to this article, I spent several hours trawling the internet for some of these numbers and any other relevant information which I share below.
This same initiative was also proposed back in 2012. Click here for more on that story.
There is a difference in “handing out” condoms to 12 year olds and “making them available” to 12 year olds. School Governing Bodies (SGB’s) will theoretically have the say for their particular school.
A spokesman for the Dept of Education claimed that parents were fully support(at)ive of the move. Read more here.
– no numbers mentioned, no mention of the grounds for making this assertion.
The dept recorded 100 000 (one hundred thousand) cases of sexual assault involving school children over a 2 year period from 2013/14 – 2015/16, as reported by EWN.
– That’s around 180 per day, for each and every day. If there wasn’t a typo in the digits, that is horrific.
In the same period, perhaps a handful of cases, usually involving a teacher, make it to the general media. Now we are talking moral decay.
EWN reported approximately 40000 school girls became pregnant over a three year period from 2014-2016, 190 in grades 3- 5, another 1500+/- in grades 6-7 and presumably, the balance of around 38000 in high school. No ages are specifically mentioned.
I don’t mean to downplay the tragedy of these pregnancies but out of a 12-19 year old group of approximately three million kids, roughly 98% of these condoms are going to be wasted.
I also don’t want to start on whether the reason that other countries around the world have lower numbers of school pregnancies and HIV infections is because they hand out millions of condoms to their schoolkids.
This country already has a major problem with a lack of personal self-discipline and self-restraint. What is the message being sent here ? “It’s fine boys, go and do your man thing with any girl you like, after all, they’re just girls, and to prove that we big people are giving you the nod, here are the condoms. Try to remember to look in your L.O. (Life Orientation) textbooks to find out what to do with them”.
My opinion on this move is that it stinks.
Finally, what I had intended to be a rhetorical question for the straight-talkers, viz “Exactly what size condom do you plan to give to a 12 year old?” unfortunately turned out to be not so following the appearance of this article on the Catholic News Agency website on 19th August 2017.
It looks like it’s going to be every parent for themselves.