Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Topeka school stops providing free condoms after effort goes public

October 18, 2007

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— Topeka High School has stopped providing free condoms to its students after school district officials learned of the month-old program.

The district has a policy against providing contraceptives because it views access to them as an issue between parents and their children, interim Superintendent Terry Sandlin said Wednesday. He said any proposal to make condoms available should be discussed by the school board, after it consults with parents and community leaders.

Sandlin said Topeka High School's principal was unaware that students could get condoms until a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter asked about it. The newspaper published a story in its Wednesday editions, but Sandlin said the school stopped providing condoms after Tuesday's school day ended.

"This is a decision that requires input from everyone in our community," Sandlin said during a news conference. "It's not something that should be made in isolation by myself or any one specific person."

Sarah Carson, a 16-year-old Topeka High junior, proposed that the school provide the condoms as a way to promote sexual health and awareness about AIDS. But the president of the school's booster club was upset.

The condoms were available in a wicker basket at the school nurse's station, along with information about how to use them and free AIDS testing. The school received about 100 each in September and October from the Topeka AIDS Project.

Each month, the condoms disappeared in about a week.

Carson filled the basket. She told the newspaper that she had approached a counselor about providing them, saying another student had suggested it.

Sandlin said the school's principal received only "cursory" information and thought the counselor would propose an AIDS-awareness project.

Topeka High students are taught about abstinence, Carson said, but that isn't enough because many teens are sexually active.

"They might be reluctant to go into a store and buy condoms or they might not be able to afford them," she said.

Michelle Durkes, booster club president, said she was unhappy to hear about the condoms.

"Schools are not the place to choose to hand out condoms. Kids can go to the health department for that. It's not the school's job. It makes it look like you are approving having sex. We are supposed to be teaching, I thought, 'Just say no.' So it is very shocking that the school would be supplying them," Durkes said.

Comments

erod0723 7 years, 10 months ago

Schools need to be providing condoms to kids. Abstinence education is a joke and studies have shown that kids that go through abstinence only health classes are just as likely to engage in sexual activities and to catch an STI. We need to get the heck over the Puritan days, and start promoting responsible sexual practices. When I was a teenager, I was most interested in the things that I was told I could not or should not do. If we get rid of idiotic Abstinence education, it will open the door to safe sexual practices, lower pregnancy and STI rates, and help get rid of the sexual stigma. Sex is something most everybody is doing. Who are we as society to predetermine teenager's choices. Sex is not the horrible little thing that the far right tries to portray it is. If practiced correctly, it is not only safe and fun, but can also be beneficial to the immune system and mental health of individuals.

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 10 months ago

I agree. Condoms should be made available but only to those students who have parental consent to receive them. Parents need to take a more active role in their childrens' lives. Spend time with them, get to know what they're doing.

Confrontation 7 years, 10 months ago

Have you seen the prices of condoms? They're not 20 for $1, like they were in your day 75X55.

"Each month, the condoms disappeared in about a week."
I'm sure the kids of conservatives only use them to make balloon animals.

Bubbles 7 years, 10 months ago

XXX's are really expensive.

I was told that some of the kids thought they were getting chewing gum.

Strontius 7 years, 10 months ago

"Kids smoke and drink, too. Shouldn't schools be handing out filters to cut down on their tar and nicotine, and antacids and aspirins to cut down on their handovers?"

The former isn't a bad idea and the latter is already available either at the kids homes or in the nurse's office.

Be realistic. Humans are sexual creatures and the response is a government sponsored "just say no" campaign? After that worked so well with drugs, they tried it on sex where it was even more irrelevant. Try as I might, I just can't see why giving people the opportunity to stop unprotected sex and all of the consequences that it entails is so wrong. We should be encouraging people to have sex when they're ready and teaching people how to make the most of the experience, not trying to shield people from reality.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 10 months ago

"Schools need to be providing condoms to kids."

Need? No. No need.

"Abstinence education is a joke...."

Ha ha... like disseminating condoms at school....

"We need to get the heck over the Puritan days, and start promoting responsible sexual practices."

Most of us are the heck over the Puritan days. The remainder of your sentence contradicts the premise/conclusion of your entire post."

"When I was a teenager, I was most interested in the things that I was told I could not or should not do."

In that case, you may not abstain from irresponsible sexual activity.

"If we get rid of idiotic Abstinence education, it will open the door to safe sexual practices, lower pregnancy and STI rates, and help get rid of the sexual stigma."

... or if we get rid of limited, shortsighted, reactive interventions which actually promote the very sort problem they purport to address.

"Sex is something most everybody is doing. Who are we as society to predetermine teenager's choices."

What "society" cannot play a role in "determining" the choices of its members?

"Sex is not the horrible little thing that the far right tries to portray it is."

Straw man... or wicker?

"If practiced correctly, it is not only safe and fun, but can also be beneficial to the immune system and mental health of individuals."

Sexuality certainly is central to what and who we are. It is one of the most pursued and consequential of human activities-both physically and emotionally-ALWAYS has been, always will be. It can enhance and improve us; it can devastate or destroy us. When pursued in a responsible and meaningful way, it can serve each of us, all of our days. This sort of meaningful responsibility cannot be dispensed from a wicked little basket at a school nurse's station.

craigers 7 years, 10 months ago

You are more likely to come into contact with an STD when you are sexually promiscuous. Handing out condoms is an encouragement to do so. Just because an activity has become popular doesn't make it right and doesn't mean we should stop trying to prevent it and then encourage it. That makes no sense at all.

We are not in a sense just sexual creatures, we are creatures that long for relationships. However this longing for sex has come from the notion we put in kid's heads with TV, music, etc that says you can't have meaningful relationships without physical intimacy. This is why divorce is so high, IMO. Too many people having sexual intimacy before having a mutual deep love for each other.

huntershaven 7 years, 10 months ago

Does this mean we encourage pyromaniacs because we recommend having fire extinguishers in homes and in public and commercial buildings? Does this mean we encourage people to harm themselves because we recommend having first aid kits in the same locations?

Teenagers are going to do what they want to do regardless of what they are told to do. However, I also give teenagers credit for actually being able to reason out things when given proper information and give them the available choices and the potential outcomes given those choices.

I have had my fill of fundamentalist dogma because I have seen the results of what those teachings actually result in when applied to current conditions. It's no wonder we have such a screwed up world.

BrianR 7 years, 10 months ago

Humans are no different than other animals and we're hard-wired to begin reproducing when we are physically able. Also, because of longer life spans, people can wait to have children until much later in life but that doesn't stop biology from functioning normally to propagate the species.

Intellectually, we are able to delay biology, and we should, but obviously not everyone does that.

Abstinance education is a failure and it will always will fail, get used to the idea, it's not going to change.

If we're not going to help keep these kids from getting pregnant, what is the answer? Biology trumps dogma every day so any answers that recommend fear, punishment, morality, church, etc. are disqualified.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 10 months ago

"Humans are no different than other animals...."

Really. ( Hmm, what delusion have I been suffering from...? )

"Biology trumps dogma every day..."

Hmm... biology and dogma... I take it that you paint all of your landscapes with a black crayon?

"... so any answers that recommend fear, punishment, morality, church, etc. are disqualified.

... how about meaning... meaningfulness?

( and, what's wrong with morality-put down the black crayon, before answering. )

BrianR 7 years, 10 months ago

t-r-a, You're thinking way too high on the hierarchy of needs but mostly, you haven't written anything worthy of a response.

storm 7 years, 10 months ago

Biologically, teens haven't changed much since the times when people used to die in their 40's so they started their families in their teens. I say let the condom basket remain.

Mandie Eutsler 7 years, 10 months ago

there is no solution that can please everybody. the bottom line is safety. kids are definitely not going to ask thier parents for permission to get condoms from the school nurse. kids are also not going to the health dept. for condoms. if you make condoms and other forms of birth control less available, you will see kids using nothing or even trash bags or hoping some useless urban legend will keep them safe. what's really sad is that teens get most of thier advice about sex from thier clueless friends. the only thing they truly know is that a condom and birth control wil help keep you from getting preggers or diseases. most families this day and age have both parents working outside the home. it's too easy for kids to get away with any number of things. keep the basket. educate and try to relate.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 7 years, 10 months ago

I suggest that everyone make a contribution to the Topeka Aids Project located at 708 SW Sixth Ave., Topeka Ks. 66606. If the parents don't want their kids to have condoms then they can tell their kids to not take them. The condoms are a legal product and their is no age limit like ciggs or booze.

Ultimately if the school board decides to cave into the whining of the abstinence only crying delusional parents, I suggest that the condoms be distributed on the public sidewalks outside of the school to those teens that want to protect themselves and be responsible. The teens want to be responsible even if some parents are naive enough to think that teens are not going to have sex. Abstinence only didn't work in the fifties and it doesn't work now.

Kontum1972 7 years, 10 months ago

girls become pregnant..then all the babies become an added expense for the state and the flood of unwed mums...not to mention the spread of aids.....i would rather my kid be given condoms....

the number of pregnancies does not decline....duh...well yeah...guess no one told them about the afterflow....after u toss the loaded condom....duh!

MyName 7 years, 10 months ago

The school wasn't paying for them, and it looks like it was something that was started more by the students then by the teachers or staff deciding to bring them to school. At least, that's the way I read it, but maybe I'm missing something. It seems like if the students want these to be available, and there is a non-profit group outside the school that wants to provide them, then all the school is really doing is providing basket space.

What's really dumb about this issue is how many people are unable to separate the public health issues involved from their desire to pass judgement on other people's parenting skills. I don't believe that having sex at an early age necessarily means that you had bad parents, but even if that were true, I don't think having condoms available will do much to change the way you were raised. What it might do, though, is reduce the spread of disease.

gr 7 years, 10 months ago

"After that worked so well with drugs, they tried it on sex where it was even more irrelevant. Try as I might, I just can't see why giving people the opportunity to stop unprotected sex and all of the consequences that it entails is so wrong."

Try as I might, I just can't see why giving people the opportunity to stop unprotected (DRUG USE - 'ciggs', 'booze', or otherwise) and all of the consequences that it entails is so wrong.

"The condoms are a legal product and their is no age limit like ciggs or booze." Why is there a age limit on the 'legal product', ciggs and booze?

Maybe we can teach them the 'proper and safe way' to correctly hump dead deer, too.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 10 months ago

Highschoolers have enough challenges and dangers in the world they are soon to face.They don't need an unwanted pregnancy or std to halt their advance on making this world a livable one for tomorrow. Why would any responsible adult deny this simple apparatus that can prevent hardship for all Three involved? Mz. Burkes rosy solution is delusional at best and grossly neglegent as president of the booster club at worst.Let's see where her self centered protocol stands when we have a fatherless child,a young woman who can't graduate with the rest of her class(I imagine msBurkes would have her expelled for having premarital sex) and another lifer on the welfare rolls.

BrianR 7 years, 10 months ago

DotsLines says: "Um - parenting?

I always find it amusing that liberals who scream about the Republicans not doing enough for children, and they'd rather leave the care and supervision of their own kids to someone (anyone) else."

Thank you, I laughed out loud when I read that; it's just so idiotic. Yes, genius, parenting is working wonderfully, innit?

Then you make assumptions about my politics, thereby following one error with another, simply brill. You've been a great source of joy and amusement for me today.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 10 months ago

"Biology trumps dogma every day so any answers that recommend fear, punishment, morality, church, etc. are disqualified."

(Why is it that morality so consistently is tied to religious dogma in so many people's minds?)

Fundamentally, morality springs from the same nervous system which produces the orgasm. Pleasure and pain. (No loss no gain.)

It is human vulnerability which gives rise to morality-the experience of pain (in the broadest sense of the term), the generalization of this experience to others, and the recognition that one's actions can create consequences for others, both immediate and long-term. Beyond this, there is the emergence and development of empathy, crucial in those situations where experience cannot directly be shared (e.g., those involving gender-specific vulnerabilities and consequences.)

If we have produced an environment which, through earlier and broader exposure, places young people at risk for highly consequential behavior, then it falls upon us to temper (e.g.) a potentially unbridled hedonism with equal-even exceptional-attention to issues of morality. The nerve pathways serving sexual drive and satisfaction are immediate and salient; those which govern self-restraint (as opposed to dogmatic control) require greater attention and cultivation, in short, greater intervention on the parts of more mature individuals (parents, teachers) who ought to know better.

"t-r-a, You're thinking way too high on the hierarchy of needs but mostly, you haven't written anything worthy of a response."

With respect to a hierarchy of needs, can one think too high? (Hopefully, what I've offered, here, is worthy of consideration, if not a response.)

Bubbles 7 years, 10 months ago

When the rubber blows out was topeka high going to pay for the baby since they enabled the kids to screw?

Since topeka high is giving these kids a false sense of security they should pay for blow outs.

Confrontation 7 years, 10 months ago

I love how most of the parents on here assume that their kids will come to them and ask for condoms or the pill. How many of you went to your parents? Oh, yeah. I forgot. Every person on here waited until marriage. You weren't part of the 95% who banged before the ceremony. Considering most parents would overreact and sign up their kids for an abstinence weekend at Corpus Christi, you can't blame schools for facing reality and handing out protection.

Confrontation 7 years, 10 months ago

How would putting condoms in a basket in your kitchen solve the problem? The kid would know that you'd be counting to see if any were taken. Dotsline, you are living in a very different generation and have no clue about anything.

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