Condoms For Elementary Students? Yes, Says Mass. Town (no after all) - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 48 Old 07-01-2010, 11:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
IMO 10 and 11 year olds ( which is 5th grade) shouldn't have discreet access to birth control or STD protection. If they are having sex, then it's important that parents know, because IMO 10 year olds can't consent to sex, period.
And yet they do. So whether we think they should, or can, they ARE having sex. Often they have nobody to turn to, for information or for access to condoms. Sure, it would be better if they weren't sexually involved at all. But since we know that some of them will be, why can't we offer them a place to turn for what protection and information we can offer?

I don't see the connection with vaccines at all. Handing a child a condom isn't going to have any long-term affects on that child's health. It's having sex that's going to do that. So the parental responsibility should be not to prevent children from having access to condoms-- it becomes to prevent the child from having the opportunity to become sexually involved, doesn't it? And the school is not interfering in that, unless we believe that merely having access to contraception will induce kids to become sexually involved when they wouldn't have done otherwise, which frankly isn't borne out by the research.

So no, I'm not outraged at all. I think it's an awesome idea, to make condoms available to kids who want to ask for them. The condom itself cannot possibly do any harm.

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#32 of 48 Old 07-01-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are obviously defining consent in different ways.
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#33 of 48 Old 07-01-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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IMO 10 and 11 year olds ( which is 5th grade) shouldn't have discreet access to birth control or STD protection. If they are having sex, then it's important that parents know, because IMO 10 year olds can't consent to sex, period.
Exactly. And the law agrees. There is no state with an established age of consent of 10 or 11.
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#34 of 48 Old 07-01-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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I'm with lotusdebi & witchygrrl - whats the downside? That it costs the school an extra, what, $50-100 a year to have condoms on-hand so that if kids want them, they have access to them? If it keeps just one girl from getting pregnant, then its worth it. Cause' how many hundreds, thousands of dollars will be spent on that child's pregnancy, let alone the child itself? Vs $100 in condoms. Worth it. 100% Utterly, completely worth it.
It's not about the money.

The fact is that children in 5th and 6th grade are not old enough to legally consent to have sex, and depending on the age of the child's partner, this could be grounds for criminal action. In Massachusetts, the age of consent is either 16 or 18 depending on the circumstance.

So what exactly would the school nurse or counselor say to a 10 year old asking for a condom? Would they be able to ask how old the child's partner is? If a crime is involved, why would it be okay to not tell the victim's parents?

This is so very different from a 17 year old getting condoms at school. When it's a child in elementary school having sex, this is at the very least child abuse/neglect, if not rape. In every single case, imo.

The right thing to do is NOT to give the child a condom and think it's a sad situation. The right thing to do is to stop the abuse/rape by any means necessary, and the parents must absolutely be made aware of what is happening to their child.


But thank goodness the school district isn't actually giving condoms to grade schoolers.
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#35 of 48 Old 07-01-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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Okay, but what about the 10 and 11 year olds having sex with each other? Who's to say that they're only having sex with older people? This is not a discussion about statutory rape, per se, though in some cases that may be true. So in that sense, would the consent laws even apply?

If it is a case of statutory rape, then of course that needs to be followed through legally, but even still, I'd rather that condoms be available so it's not a case of pregnancy/STIs on top of it. Stat rape is bad enough, and if that's suspected, then I would hope that an investigation be done.

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#36 of 48 Old 07-01-2010, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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AFAIK, it's a state juristictional thing. While we think of statutory rape laws as ones that protect the younger party from those older it depending on state law it can apply to both if both are below the legal age of consent.

Doing a quick google search http://www.avert.org/age-of-consent.htm

The lowest age of consent in any US state is 14. And here we are arguing over 10 year olds.
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#37 of 48 Old 07-01-2010, 01:06 PM
 
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Okay, but what about the 10 and 11 year olds having sex with each other? Who's to say that they're only having sex with older people? This is not a discussion about statutory rape, per se, though in some cases that may be true. So in that sense, would the consent laws even apply?

If it is a case of statutory rape, then of course that needs to be followed through legally, but even still, I'd rather that condoms be available so it's not a case of pregnancy/STIs on top of it. Stat rape is bad enough, and if that's suspected, then I would hope that an investigation be done.
If it's two 10 year olds, don't you still think the parents should be told? I would consider this to be child neglect on the part of the adult who knows what the children are doing if the parents are not informed. Depending on the circumstances, the parents might be neglectful, as well.

Is it not reasonable for the parents of a 10 year old be given the right and the opportunity to stop their child from having sex?

I don't believe 10 year olds should have the right to have sex whenever they want. Yes, STIs and pregnancy should definitely be prevented, but that prevention should not be from a condom but rather from stopping the sexual activity.
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#38 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 03:24 AM
 
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I am taking neither side, but around here elementary school goes to 6th grade and there was more than 1 13 year old sixth grader in my children's school.

Additionally, condoms are not only protective in vaginal intercourse.

 

 

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#39 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 05:06 AM
 
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In the program, parents are not even made aware that their children have asked for or received the condoms. All they know is that their children have access to them. And there is nothing they can do to limit that access.
OK, I see where you are coming from, but I don't really see it in the was as a medicine or vaccine (unless they were giving it to her in a sealed container, not injecting it into her body), but I agree that consent can't be given at the younger ages, so as a parent I would want to know. But now it sounds like this is a high school thing.
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#40 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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Oh, dont' worry I agree - 10 yr olds shouldn't have sex w/ each other. And yet, it happens. Should we keep them from doing it safely? Yes, we should try to keep them from doing it altogether, but that does *NOT* change the fact that it does and will happen. So wheres the harm in allowing them to have *ACCESS* to condoms?? Doesn't mean they have to get one, doesn't mean that if they have one they will use it. Just means that if they want to have sex, they can do so *safely*. Wheres the harm in that?
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#41 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 08:43 PM
 
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Oh, dont' worry I agree - 10 yr olds shouldn't have sex w/ each other. And yet, it happens. Should we keep them from doing it safely? Yes, we should try to keep them from doing it altogether, but that does *NOT* change the fact that it does and will happen. So wheres the harm in allowing them to have *ACCESS* to condoms?? Doesn't mean they have to get one, doesn't mean that if they have one they will use it. Just means that if they want to have sex, they can do so *safely*. Wheres the harm in that?
Yes, we should keep them from doing it safely or otherwise.

I can't figure out how a school could give a 10 year old access to condoms without at least implying that it is okay for that child to have sex.

The harm in a school giving a 10 year old child a condom is that the school would then be involved with the 10 year old having sex (if the child does have sex), which is not legal or acceptable under ANY circumstances.

Imagine a 10 year old going to the school nurse for condoms in order to have sex with another 10 year old. Imagine that one of those 10 year olds is your child. What is the right thing to do in this situation? If that was my child, I would not want the school to imply that sex is okay by giving my child the condom. I would want to be informed so that I could make sure without a shadow of a doubt that my child could not have sex with another child. Otherwise, I don't see how the situation could be anything but child neglect.

Please explain to me how this situation could be anything else because I'm not seeing it.
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#42 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 08:47 PM
 
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Having worked in a family planning clinic counseling kids about safe sex for several years:

a. High school is several years too late
b. Kids are often at risk if they talk to a parent, or if the parent is informed
c. Title X funding for family planning services without parental consent starts well before high school

Kids are having sex at 10, 11, 12, 13 years old. Many have same age partners, many have older partners. The legalities and ethics are certainly important arguments, but the day to day practice of keeping kids safe goes far beyond our legal or moral interpretations of right and wrong.

We can talk until we are blue in the face about why these kids are sexually active at such early ages, and we can point fingers all day long and cry 'neglect!' 'statutory rape!' 'where are the parents?!' but that isn't going to be any help for these children who do deserve to avoid sexually transmitted infections and who do not deserve to have to navigate parenthood while they are still children themselves.

My best friend became sexually active at age 11. She was bright, her parents were insightful, they never left her home without supervision. She and her partner found time anyway. The reality is that kids who want to be sexually active WILL find a way most of the time. To deny them ready access to condoms because we are too busy arguing the ethics and legalities in our ideal world is pejorative.
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#43 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 08:52 PM
 
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Imagine a 10 year old going to the school nurse for condoms in order to have I would want to be informed so that I could make sure without a shadow of a doubt that my child could not have sex with another child. Otherwise, I don't see how the situation could be anything but child neglect.
Short of tying the child to you and never allowing them out of your sight, how do you plan to do that?

In this scenario, the nurse would ideally have the necessary skills to have a conversation with the child. It is not a matter of simply leaving a big basket of condoms out, the child has to request them, which opens doors to helping to protect that child from harm.
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#44 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't even find the words. I feel sorry for kids these days that so many people think that grade schoolers can be protected from harm by being handed a condom. There is nothing normal about grade schoolers having sex. This attitude of well they are going to do it anyway so just give them condoms totally misses the point. We are talking about grade schoolers here, not 17 year olds.
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#45 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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Short of tying the child to you and never allowing them out of your sight, how do you plan to do that?
Well, considering that I already have a teen who has not had sex, I guess I'll keep doing what I've already done.

And absolutely there is nothing wrong with crying 'neglect' and 'abuse' and 'rape' when we're talking about 10 year olds having sex. I can't think of any other words to describe it.

ETA: But if I found out that any of my children were having sex at 10 (or 11, 12, 13, etc.) then I would treat it as abuse and/or rape. The school giving them condoms wouldn't be any solution.
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#46 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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I can't even find the words. I feel sorry for kids these days that so many people think that grade schoolers can be protected from harm by being handed a condom. There is nothing normal about grade schoolers having sex. This attitude of well they are going to do it anyway so just give them condoms totally misses the point. We are talking about grade schoolers here, not 17 year olds.

No one said it is a fix that will protect them from harm. However, it will help to protect them from further harm.

There are obviously huge issues with kids this young having sex, but it is not a help to them to simply be outraged about it. Allowing access to condoms through a school nurse would be a positive thing precisely because it DOES bring the matter to light. If the nurse is worth her salt, she will ask questions and may well be able to help protect that child. If the child says they are having sex with their 17 year old boyfriend- she CAN report that, and the child can be protected. Not allowing access actually drives activities further out of sight and doesn't allow for protection of these kids in any sense of the word.
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#47 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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No one said it is a fix that will protect them from harm. However, it will help to protect them from further harm.

There are obviously huge issues with kids this young having sex, but it is not a help to them to simply be outraged about it. Allowing access to condoms through a school nurse would be a positive thing precisely because it DOES bring the matter to light. If the nurse is worth her salt, she will ask questions and may well be able to help protect that child. If the child says they are having sex with their 17 year old boyfriend- she CAN report that, and the child can be protected. Not allowing access actually drives activities further out of sight and doesn't allow for protection of these kids in any sense of the word.
I thought about this, and I do see what you're saying about opening communication between adults and children who are having sex too young. I just think that this should be attempted without giving kids the impression that sex is okay by giving condoms to children who are too young to consent to have sex in the first place.
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#48 of 48 Old 07-02-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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I agree, and I don't ever think kids having sex at that age is acceptable, and I can say that without fail, preteens who came to me to talk about wanting birth control or condoms never left my office feeling that I was in support of that choice, or that I felt they were old enough to make that decision. Often, they left with a lot of education they didn't have to begin with and tools to understand how to say no, or not feel pressured to have sex. Often when they are interested in being sexually active at those ages there is a lot of complicated stuff going on behind the scenes, and they are not equipped to handle it themselves. Asking for a condom can be a doorway to giving them help and support that just isn't there somewhere else in their lives.

A program like this is absolutely not a tacit acceptance of preteen sex, and I do understand how it can appear that way, and that horrifies me as well. I also know that it could well be put into place without appropriate staff education and training, and that would make it far less helpful.
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