Sex and candy (in the dean’s office)

It seems slightly hypocritical to me that the school offers sex education and supplies us with condoms, but won’t allow a safe sex poster to be put up on campus.

The administration seems almost ashamed by the job they’re doing of supporting safe sex here.

Yes, they’ll provide us with contraceptives, but they don’t want anyone besides students to know it.

A basket filled with condoms sits on a desk in Chalmers 203 amid piles of paper, cups of pens and a basket of candy.

Another basket is in the lobby outside the school psychologists’ offices in Seaver, and a third is available in Father James Young’s office.

The upper school community takes some 3,000 condoms a year; some end up as balloons, some are taken as jokes, but there’s no doubt that most are used for their intended purpose.

A few years back, there was only one basket in Chalmers, filled with both condoms and candy so students wouldn’t feel uncomfortable taking the contraceptive. But the message is clear: students are as welcome to pick up a condom as they are a piece of candy. In fact, the administration expects us to casually grab a condom as much as they expect us to grab a piece of candy on the way to class.

Sex education is an important part of the curriculum. If a student attends Harvard-Westlake for all six years, he or she will take two required courses in which sex education is taught Human Development in eighth grade and Choices and Challenges in 10th grade.
According to the Course Guide, one of the goals of Choices and Challenges is to “disseminate clear and accurate information about sexuality, reproduction, birth control, health and communicable diseases.” Discussions and demonstrations of various methods of birth control occur in both classes.

I distinctly remember Middle School Physical Education Department Head Kim Hieatt putting a condom on a banana in eighth grade.

The administration seems to preach safe sex, not abstinence.

So I was surprised when a safe sex public service announcement I created for my photography class was banned from being displayed at school.

Apparently a smiley face made out of colored condoms with the words “use condoms. be happy.” under it advocates teenage sex, which the school definitely doesn’t want to do. Even worse, it assumes that teenagers have sex. And we do.

Whether or not contraceptives are available at school, and whether or not teenage sex is supported or looked down upon by school officials, we’re going to have sex.

Apparently parents or prospective students or whoever else the school wants to impress haven’t come to terms with this, and one poster advocating safe sex will make us seem a bastion of promiscuity and free love.

Or maybe they didn’t like the poster because they don’t want us to use their condoms: after all, for a good amount of time this school year, the condoms they provided were defective. When students used them, they broke.

It wouldn’t look good to prospective families to have a bunch of pregnant teenage girls wandering around campus with their math textbooks and baby names books in tow.
The next step would be a Harvard-Westlake Nursery for their babies. Neither of these images are ones the administration wants to project.

So they provide us with baskets full of condoms and hope we won’t actually use them.

Rose can be reached at:
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