Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love is loving in a different way. Areas of the city are experiencing high rates of STDs and nearly 25% of all the new cases are occurring in teenagers.
If you were given the task of curtailing the problem, how would you go about it?
I can tell you one thing; I definitely would not have taken the same approach as the Philly schools are taking. Over the Christmas break, school officials have been busy installing clear plastic dispensers full of condoms, free for the taking in 22 of the city’s schools.
The dispensers are being placed just inside the door of the school nurses office, but the nurses have been instructed that they are not to be charged with managing student access to the condoms.
Parents can sign an opt-out letter and file it with the school, stating that their teens will not be allowed to participate in the free condom program. However, school officials say that it is up to the students to honor that letter and if they don’t, then that is a matter handled at home, not the school. In other words, parents may say no, but if the student wants, they can violate their parents’ wishes and the school won’t say a word.
Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity, Donald F. Schwarz said the pilot program is designed to help reduce the high rate of STDs among the city’s teens. It seems the program was initiated in April 2011 and since that time the city has given out over 4 million condoms. (Kind of sounds like they are following the example of the US Olympic Committee.) Schwarz claims that over the past year, the rate of STDs has started to drop.
I see this action by the Philadelphia schools as telling every teenager that sex is okay, just be safe and use a condom. There is no moral right or wrong being taught. They aren’t learning that sex is something special and sacred and to be saved for marriage only and shared between a husband and a wife.
As parent, how would you feel knowing that your 14 year old son or daughter can waltz in to the school nurse’s office, grab a couple of condoms and go and engage in sex without your knowledge or consent?
What would I do? I’d bring God and the Bible back into the schools and teach abstinence. In places that have used this, it not only reduces the rate of STDs, but it reduces the rate of teen sex. Students are taught to respect their bodies and the bodies of others. They are taught the true purpose and meaning of sex and how it is that special bond between a husband and wife.
Yes, it may take longer than handing out free condoms, but in the long run, it will have far greater effect and impact in the lives of the students, in more ways than one.