Monday, 18 February 2013

The Kingdom's Claim To Fame

In 2009 the Kingdom of Fife had the highest teenage pregnancy rate, in the under-16s.  At 9.2 per 1,000 it was the highest in Scotland and one of the highest in western Europe. In the under-18s age group the figure was 47.7 per 1,000.

In a report sexual heath doctors felt they were 'firefighting - struggling with crisis situations rather than prevention' and argued that there ought to be better sex education for youngsters and more support for young mothers.

So what do these 'experts' suggest as 'better sex education for youngsters'? Unbelievably, they want the morning-after pill to be available to girls in Scotland's schools in an attempt to reduce the high number of under-age pregnancies.

They want to turn our schools into health centres instead of places where children should be fed information which will provide them with the skills to live a responsible and fulfilling life.

As vaccination against the sexually transmitted disease human papilloma virus is already available to schoolgirls in school time, the experts want to go further.  Not only do they think the morning-after pill should be available but also condoms and contraception.

This is a good example of giving 'experts' an inch and they take a mile. With hindsight, the HPV vaccination should have been administered within a health centre setting outwits school hours and not in school, but I expect the practicalities of that made it impossible.  Those who were more at risk - those who have no sense of responsibility - would have shunned the vaccination.

How much more responsibility do schools have to take for the sexual behaviour of school children?

Something is going very wrong in our society.  Our education system is slipping down the charts and one of the reasons could be that so much time is spent teaching social issues instead of the subjects which may be helpful in their adult lives.  There are breakfast clubs in many schools and are well attended.  

What are parents saying about this?  I don't hear them protesting.  Have they all succumbed to the 'experts know best' adage?  Don't parents feel any shame about not providing their children with a plate of porridge which costs less than 15p to make?  The more schools attempt to replace parental responsibilities the more parents will wash their hands of their children and this attitude will replicate in these children when they are adults.

Surely someone somewhere will speak up on behalf of these children and insist that, unless emergency mass medication is required, all health issues should be dealt with by local health centres.

What I don't suppose has crossed the minds of the experts is that their idea would, at most and not including holidays, only be 5/7ths effective.  The morning after pill would only be available 5 mornings a week.  

Fifty years ago part of the deterrent for girls was the inconvenience and embarrassment of having to attend clinics. The clinics existed then but as schoolgirls we didn't know about these things and had no particular interest in sex. We'd been taught the only contraception was abstinence and it worked, with the odd exception.

We must keep these foolish ideas outside schools.  What these experts should be doing is examining the type of sex education that is provided in schools because it's not giving the intended results and resolving the issue from the core.


Joe Public said...

It's not "sex education" that's required, it's "contraception education" that's necessary.

I wonder how many have been prosecuted for sex with those under-age girls?

JRB said...

How things have changed.

As a wee laddie at school the highlight of the day was when we were issued with our free regulation 1/3rd of a pint of milk during which the teacher read to us from Aesops fables … and for us to proffer a girl one’s penny dainty was seen as a declaration of undying love and affection.

How things have changed.

For now, the highlight of our youngsters’ day will be the issue of their free daily contraceptive whilst their teacher reads from the STD Handbook … and if the kids can remember who their partner was last night they will be doing well.

How things have changed.

But is it for the better?

pa_broon74 said...

I was speaking to some young folk just last night about this, or at least how things have changed. I remember not having things like instant access to information, imagery and ideas via the internet, they didn't. We went on to talk about the different expectations we all had comparing theirs currently and my own years ago.

I grew up in the 80's (sort of) and in terms of sex ed remember one thing above all; those terrifying public warnings about AIDS/HIV. It was enough to put most folk off sex (and toilet seats for that matter...)

I don't think you can turn the clock back or put the internet and its ideas back in the bottle, you can only deal with the fall out from it. As with all things, Schools must also evolved and react to change, if not that then real money should be invested in youth work, (something which is lacking badly, I worked in that sector and left because of a lack of funding.)

Ignoring or not dealing with these issues will not make them go away. Take HPV for example, its not just an STD, there is a bit more to it, not offering it due to ideology seems self-defeating.

Also, the morning after pill isn't strictly for the morning after, some can be taken up to 3 days after the act. Again, I suppose I'm uncomfortable with it happening in schools but, as with the C card (free condoms) argument, I don't think having it necessarily encourages sexual activity, and even it if does, for the very few who wouldn't have gone down that particular road were it not for the C card or the morning after pill, there are a lot more that will go down that road anyway.

I think a bigger risk to school effectiveness is the amount of time and energy they put into these faux gap year experiences*, the young folk I know are spending hundreds of hours 'fundraising' for a trip to Borneo (last year it was somewhere in South America.)

*Bit of a pet hate I have at the moment.

Key bored warrior. said...

Like so many other social problems in Scotland, I think this statistic along with, poor health, can be directly linked to poverty and lack of opportunities. Education and a career path for kids will help to overcome this eventually. But poverty and lack of opportunity has been ingrained in to the Scottish psyche for hundreds of years. The SNP are to be commended for recognising that education and health are the corner stones of any civilised society, from that will grow the good social indicators as our children grow up with hope, pride and vision for their futures. It is significant that these problems are worse in areas dominated by Labour for decades in Scotland. That is Labour who moved to the right of the Tory's, and who are "intensely relaxed about people being filthy rich." And who see nothing wrong in selling weapons of death to regimes that butcher their own and neighbouring people, and even assisting them by flying troops and bombs to these far of lands to kill kill and kill again. Labour make me sick.

JimS said...

Dave Allen used to do a lovely routine about the two convent girls that end up in front of the Mother Superior:

[Girls] "Mother Superior, we have just been raped!"

[M.S.} "I want you to both go straight to the cook and ask her to give you half a lemon each to suck".

[Girls] "Will that stop us becoming pregnant Mother Superior"?

[M.S.} "No, but it will wipe that stupid grin off both your faces!".

Stewart Cowan said...

It's simply part of a very old socialist agenda to destroy the family as the only possible way of creating a totally socialist state: create dysfunction and the state machine picks up the pieces.

The Fabians knew this in the 19th century. KGB subversion agents were doing it in the West in the 20th century. Now, all our mainstream parties have been subverted and our children are the pawns in this evil game of theirs.

It's all perfectly deliberate. Why don't parents care? Media mind control so they blindly trust "authority" and our lives are made increasingly more busy and confusing with one thing and another.

Apogee said...

If time is spent "educating" humans
all about the theory of something,and said humans are told by the media its fun and enjoyable; why are the authorities, or any one else surprised when those educated ones go straight out and put theory into practice?
If responsibility was taught as rigorously as sex education, the result might be different.
The world might be different!

Hamish said...

Stewart Cowan, I don't understand what you are trying to say:
"It's simply part of a very old socialist agenda to destroy the family as the only possible way of creating a totally socialist state"
Is it the family or the destruction of it that will lead to this alleged outcome?

SR, excellent article. I agree with 87.5% of it.

Chef Files said...

Ah c'mon now hen, what else is there to do for these wee lassies in Fife? It's no as if you have a decent fitba team to go and watch, eh?

Gedguy said...

Good article and I agree with the thrust of it. Schools should be for the education of the brain not for sex advice and access to contraceptives.
Having said that we have a problem and it may not be what we think it is. It is a perfectly normal and genetic urge for the young to procreate. That is what they are there for, in an evolutionary way. We put an arbitrary figure of 16 years of age for legal sex but in most cases that is biologically too high a date. Their bodies are ready for procreation long before 16.
The question should not be, 'How do we stop them?', for that is a ludicrous question; you may as well command the wind to stop blowing, but 'How do we guide them?'. They need to be educated to a degree that enables them to make the right decisions, whatever that is. So where does this 'education' happen? It should be health centres for it is basically a 'body' question. However, once the children are released from school getting them to then go to a health centre will be virtually impossible; no, it must be in schools where we already have a 'captive' audience. However, the education of our children is slipping because of the pressure society demands from its teachers which pulls the teachers away from educating our young. The only answer is to legally extend the school day by an hour for those moralistic subjects to be taught. I wouldn't like to be the teachers when they tell the kids they have to stay an extra hour.

pa_broon74 said...

Further to what Gedguy said, things like sex education and advice used to be in the realm of youth work but this is one of the first things to get cut when councils run out of money (kids don't pay their way.)

A youth club is the ideal place for this kind of advice to be disseminated. Heck, I'm involved in a youth organisation which loves to stick its head in the sand when it comes to social issues but even I find myself giving advice on contraception etc.

Make youth work more of a priority (and stop demonizing voluntary work with young people) and the problem would be much better addressed.

Nessimmersion said...

How do they manage these things in foreign parts, you know like Holland or Denmark or one of those cuddly Scandinavian democracies?
How do the dutch achieve one of the lowes teenage pregnancy rates in Europe along with very open education. IS it because there is a lot of social opprobrium directed at those pregnant teenagers.
Why the reluctance to look round the world for evidence as to what works?

subrosa said...

Jings Joe, so many agencies have been trying hard to get both sexes to be interested in contraception. They're not. It doesn't interest them.

We need a different approach.

subrosa said...

Dare I say that's a daft question to ask me JRB. :)

subrosa said...

I'm all for 'mass' immunisation against such serious diseases pa_broon and having them done within schools seems sensible from a logistical view.

If I may make an analogy. If you put vending machines in schools filled with chocolate and sweets don't you think that would encourage youngsters to eat them? Out of mind etc.

I'd be interested to hear what your young companions said. Is it more the internet providing them with sometimes inaccurate information?

Aye that's a gripe of mine too.

subrosa said...

I have to disagree KBW. This can't be blamed on poverty and doesn't need money thrown at it. Girls from all areas of society are getting pregnant. Perhaps those from a 'wealthier' home may choose abortion but that is also available for any female.

There's something wrong within the educational agenda that's not reaching the youngsters.

subrosa said...

Ah, the wonderful Dave Allen Jim. Never to be reproduced.

subrosa said...

Good points Stewart. Thanks.

subrosa said...

Aye Apogee, responsibility seems to have been removed these days. It's always someone else's fault.

subrosa said...

Tut tut Chef, you should know there's plenty to do. Braw golf for a start... (and they can get free lessons at some courses).

subrosa said...

Super points Gedguy and it was one of mine. The current 'guidance' isn't that is it?

I can't see why they couldn't attend a health centre for a discussion. Out of school hours we did many things organised by the school and that was 50+ years ago.

The day should be extended. I strongly believe that.

subrosa said...

Nessimmersion, that is one of the reasons I'm sure. Another is that family honour is important too and no child wants to let down their parents really. Unless of course their parents don't care.

Yes we could investigate Europe again, although it's been done several times over the years but obviously missed the real reason these countries have more success.

Able said...

As a nurse I can tell you that most teenagers I have had any contact with professionally are quite well aware of the facts, concepts and implications of both sex and contraception (considerably more so than I was at that age).

So why the staggeringly higher 'teenage pregnancy rate' today? From what they say to me - because it is seen as a 'career choice' by many young girls (can't be bothered to work? want a house and sufficient benefits to buy all you want and still have a social life? - get pregnant and all shall be given to you).

Education is irrelevant. When you actively reward a behaviour, don't be surprised when that behaviour becomes more common.

Just Sayin'

subrosa said...

Thanks for your comment Able. I would like to use it in a post next week because I think this issue should be kept to the forefront.

BTW I agree with you. It's the imbalance of consequences which is happening throughout our society.

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