School replaces defective condoms

After six reported cases of school-provided condoms breaking during use, school psychologist Dr. Sheila Siegel and Chaplain Father J. Young are replacing the Durex condoms with a new brand. The new batch represents the second time this year that the condoms, which are provided in three upper school offices, have been replaced after complaints from students about their malfunctioning. Young, the first administrator to become aware of a problem, was approached before winter break by a student.

“A kid reported to me that his condom had broken while having sex with his girlfriend,” he said.
Young was first aware of a larger problem when he was approached several weeks later by another student.

“Two is a lot for a relatively small population,” he said.

Siegel, who is in charge of purchasing all of the condoms for the school, called a representative from Durex and was told that they hadn’t received any other complaints. The company representative said the school should advise students to use additional lubrication. No formal announcement about the need for lubrication was made to students or faculty. Young said that he told students whom he saw taking condoms from his office.

During winter break Siegel ordered new condoms from Durex. However, the only difference from the first batch was that they were colored, Young said. Those newer condoms were then replaced over spring break after four more cases of breaking — all with the new colored condoms — were reported.
Dave*, whose school-provided Durex broke while he and his girlfriend were using it in late November, does not believe that students were adequately informed about the defective condoms.

“We had definitely used condoms before,” he said. “It wasn’t like we didn’t know what we were doing, but we didn’t get any indication that we had to lubricate them in a certain way.”

After the incident, the first and only time Dave used a condom from school, his girlfriend became very worried that she would get pregnant, so she took Plan B emergency contraceptive, the “morning after” pill. She became ill.

“She had to miss a day of school,” Dave added.

Neither Young nor Siegel have received any complaints about the new Trojan condoms available in the upper school deans’ office in addition to their own.

“Father J. went out and bought Trojans,” Siegel said. “He said, ‘These are really thick. These are the thickest ones I could find.’ So then I called Trojan and said that we wanted to order them. I just sent down 2,000 Trojans [to the deans’ office].”

Though he is glad that the condoms are being replaced again, it should have happened sooner, Dave said.
“As soon as you hear that they’re not working — even in one case — you’ve got to immediately make a switch.”

“It could be that people are putting them on wrong,” Siegel said. “Or it could be that there is something wrong with the condoms. We’re replacing them just in case. It could become a liability issue if they keep breaking.”

Siegel said that she has heard six cases of condoms breaking, and Dave and his girlfriend represent a seventh.

“If six people came forward, then how many are not coming forward?” Dave said.
After the complaints made on campus about their product, the Durex company is now retesting its condoms.