May 26, 2015 - 4:27 PM
KELOWNA - Condoms could soon be handed out to students around the Central Okanagan if a pilot project gains approval.
The Central Okanagan School District is considering a request from the Interior Health Authority to allow local high schools to participate in a condom pilot project.
The pilot project will supply participating schools within the health authority region with condoms, condom cards and questionaires over a three-month trial period. The health authority will assign a public health nurse to keep the schools supplied with condoms and questionaires.
“Research has clearly and consistently shown the promotion and distribution of condoms to adolescents does not result in earlier or more frequent sexual activity,” Renee Liddicoat, a member of the health authority’s community intregrated health services, says in a letter to the superintendent of schools. “Condom distribution programs can significantly increase condom use among teens that are already sexually active."
Supt. Hugh Gloster says the district’s health promoting schools committee recently endorsed the request and is sending it to the board of trustees for approval.
“They had no significant reservations," Gloster notes.
He says the board will likely take the safe route and turn the decision over to the parent advisory council and parent planning councils of each school for their consideration.
“If the board, as a whole, is willing to support this, that’s the direction I suspect they will take,” Gloster adds. “If there’s a school out there with good support from parents, then it might go ahead and if they don’t get that support, it won’t.”
While Gloster says the district has made significant strides in recent years teaching kids about sex, the superintendent acknowledges it is still a touchy subject amongst parents.
“At the end of the day, the perspective in our society is when you start providing condoms, are you representing a value that is endorsing sexual activity?” he says.
According to Liddicoat, the goal of the project is to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates. Success of the project will be measured by the student questionnaire results and the number of condoms and cards distributed.
School trustees will consider the request at its public board meeting on Wednesday, May 27.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015