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.