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Why would you NOT want a sexual health drop in clinic in school?

(128 Posts)
jennycrofter Thu 15-Nov-12 10:22:34

Parent meeting at school last night and the HT said he had been approached to have a drop in centre operate in school once a week. It was a very small meeting (6 parents, 1 pupil rep) and everyone there thought it a good idea, if a relatively private location could be found within the school.

However, the HT was fairly insistent that "parents" would object, and that oral contraceptives would handed out to underage children, which would cause local outrage. We're not in England, so parents apparently don't have a right to know.

I'm of the opinion that anything that makes it easier and safer for the children to access good advice has to be a good thing. If DC were thinking about becoming sexually active I'd want them to be able to access support quickly and easily, from someone trained in exactly that. There is no where else in town that does it, and the local health centre is the least private building I've ever come across.

Any thoughts? Does your school do anything similar? How does it work??

Narked Thu 15-Nov-12 21:57:13

It sounds like a good idea.

InNeedOfBrandy Thu 15-Nov-12 22:23:56

Yes of course silly me, people purposely get STD's to get antibiotics....

mathanxiety Thu 15-Nov-12 22:49:41

How on earth would the existence of the STD clinic account for the outbreak of the STDs?

Year 9 is about the stage of the onset of puberty for a lot of boys. They would have got the clap with or without the clinic in existence.

My DCs went to a school that had a clinic. The clinic was basically the school nurse's office, which was on a section of the second floor of the building where there were several admin offices. You could drop by at lunch or before school or after school up to 5 pm. Students could make an appointment via email or phone or text. The nurse office liaised with other social services available in the school such as the counselling office and also with local social service providers and of course the school was a statutory reporter for suspected abuse of all kinds. There were no lockers nearby and no classrooms or lunch rooms.

Made no difference to the DCs' behaviour or to the behaviour of any other teens as far as I could see. Those who came from families where supervision was lax and where parents let the children out until all hours at night, who didn't expect their children to go to school to work and get good grades ended up engaging in risky sexual behaviour. The other category of children who engaged in risk-taking of a sexual nature were those from over-strict homes who did it to rebel or because they were too used to accepting the authority of a male figure and trusting anyone who said they would take care of things. Sadly, the girls from these homes often were the ones who ended up pregnant. However, luck for them, the nurse's office was there when they needed a pregnancy test and someone to accompany them if they felt it necessary to have moral support when telling their parents.

Parents who are up in arms about outside influences are usually parents who have managed to alienate their children all by themselves through their fear- based militancy and stridency. If your children are going to be so easily led astray that the existence of a std clinic or one offering sexual health services is going to drive them into the arms of seduction then you have not been a very effective parent.

GhostShip Fri 16-Nov-12 07:59:00

So cavell you're saying they all went out and got themselves an STI because of the clinic confused

Well funnily enough no-one even knew we were getting the clinic until we walked into school after the holidays and had an assembly. So your twisting of words has failed smile

And I know this because they all told us! They weren't ashamed. I don't think some of you understand the teens of today. It's not taboo anymore.

MorningPurples Fri 16-Nov-12 08:48:20

I don't think you can entirely blame the parents for children being affected by outside influences. I'm not speaking as a parent, but remembering back to what it was like as a child. My parents did try to make me strong and confident, and instil certain values - and in one sense, it worked; I certainly didn't engage in any sort of underage sexual activity, and didn't want to. I was also pretty shy and didn't have the opportunity as result. But it left me with the feeling of being totally abnormal, out-of-step, and utter misfit. This is not something I'd have discussed with parents or teachers, as of course the message they were all trying to get across was confidence and making your own choices. It's just that it didn't work. There is a lot of pressure around, and while you might be strong enough not to give into the pressure, your self-esteem doesn't necessarily increase as a result.

I don't think trying to consider this side of the debate as well is fear-based militancy or stridency, or suggesting that children are driven into the arms of seduction. Just that for many teens, there is already such a sexualised world around them that it feels like everyone already is, despite what your parents might be trying to teach you, and that knowing you're not can be an unhappy experience and lead some more vulnerable children into more than they are ready for. Even if you think that their parents are to blame for that, they are still a vulnerable group, and I think it's worth considering the effect that clinics can have on others. There certainly needs to be ways of getting the advice and resources out there to those who are sexually active, and I think that is a very valuable service that could be provided - but I think there are ways of doing it that might reduce the focus on sex and put it in a more general context of health responsibility. It's very much NOT saying that underage sex isn't happening, or that it doesn't need services. Just making sure that other points of view are expressed so that they can all be considered when trying to decide how best to provide services. It might be that having the clinics in the schools does, on balance, provide the best compromise between the various vulnerable groups - but you can't do the balancing and work that out unless you have some sense of the perspective of other groups of teens that could be affected. Just dismissing them as children whose parents should have taught them more confidence isn't helpful.

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 16-Nov-12 09:09:54

Teens don't just need std tests from clinics. What if they have really heavy periods and want contraception to help combat that, or they have a spot/skin tag and need someone to say that's normal. Or they want to talk to someone who is not their parent about whether to have sex or not. I would much prefer my dc to be able to access any advice they need in a straight forward easy to access way.

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 16-Nov-12 09:11:04

Or thrush or bacterial vaginosis that they don't know what it is and are the drs are not easy to access when your grounded.

Trills Fri 16-Nov-12 09:19:45

I can't think of anything that a sexual health clinic might offer that I would be opposed to.

I'd hope that they offered it up alongside a bit of advice on how to raise the subject with your parents, but I know that not everyone has reasonable parents.

schoolnurse Fri 16-Nov-12 09:33:27

"If schools can afford nurses again why can't we have proper school nurses and not ones solely dedicate to the teenagers that are getting laid?"
School nurses in the UK working in state schools are employed and paid for by the NHS there are quite simply not enough to go round. Its also quite simple all children are registered with their GPs who gets paid for having them registered and children are expected to approach them about about any health concerns except for contraception which has always been available outside of GP care.

AThingInYourLife Fri 16-Nov-12 10:03:25

They wouldn't offer anything that I'd be opposed to either.

It's not that sexual health clinics are wrong, it's that I think having an official presence in school entirely dedicated to the specific health concerns of the sexually active teen sends a weird message to the rest if the school population.

Not all teenagers are fucking.

Most feel enormous pressure around sex.

I think a clinic like this at school will make that worse for them.

It's not only the popular kids with boyfriends/girlfriends that matter.

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 16-Nov-12 10:25:00

A sexual health clinic is not just for teenagers who are shagging or anyone. It's for your sexual organs health again like I said thrush, bacterial vaginosis or cystitis. Things you get without shagging.

Sidge Fri 16-Nov-12 10:34:20

"A school should be a sanctuary where pupils are protected from the pressure to have sex."

Ha ha ha! You do realise that school is probably the place where teens feel most pressured into sexual behaviour by other teens.

A lot of my drop-in clinic visitors were young people just wanting to talk about sex; they weren't necessarily doing it.

ReallyTired Fri 16-Nov-12 10:52:22

School nurses are part of the primary care team. Its matter of managing budgetting and staffing to deliver services efficently.

Watch this is you are not already horrifed by what teens get up to.

GhostShip Fri 16-Nov-12 15:30:10

Honestly people need to think in the best interests of children. Some kids haven't got parents they can talk to, or they'd rather not in fear of the repercussions (like I was)
Would you rather these kids were walking around pregnant, or with an Sti?
I know one girl who worried herself sick because she thought she had something wrong with her and was too scared to ask her mum to take her to the docs. She eventually went to the clinic and got it sorted: it was just thrush.
The clinics aren't going to pressure anyone.

If they're done properly its a brilliant thing to have. Ours was really informal and the people running it were really down to earth and non judgmental. They really cared.

Such a great thing, especially in the rougher areas.

Shallishanti Fri 16-Nov-12 15:49:15

I am sure such a clinic would be A Good Thing.
I can appreciate the point that it might unintentionally fuel the idea that 'everyone is doing it' and that may make non sexually active teens feel isolated, or wierd. But you have to set that against the benefits of the clinic in terms of pregnancies or STIs avoided, and hopefully, teens being more empowered and self confident.
If it can't be a general YP health clinic (dealing with smoking spots etc etc) - that would counter the 'everyone is doing it' factor- then the nurse should be very positive in giving the message that NOT everybody is doing it.

AThingInYourLife Fri 16-Nov-12 17:36:42

How does a clinic make a person more empowered and self confident?

I think people's enthusiasm for this kind of thing makes them wildly unrealistic about what it might achieve.

LaCiccolina Fri 16-Nov-12 17:47:42

Of like the information available to them. I'd like to hope the view would b to encourage conversation between kid/parent.

I do think the parent should b told if medication is prescribed. Any medication. It will b the parent who will have to help if it fails after all...

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 16-Nov-12 17:50:25

Not every parent is a good parent or even bothered...

Narked Fri 16-Nov-12 18:02:13

I'm still waiting for my mother to tell me about the birds and the bees. And DC have the right to privacy - if thye have parents who are open with them and discuss sex and contraception they'll already have told them about it.

Narked Fri 16-Nov-12 18:06:58

I think it would provide contraception including free condoms, preventing unwanted pregnancy and the spread of STIs. I think it would treat STIs and prevent the consequences of some of those infections going untreated eg future infertility. I think DC are more likley to go to a clinic where they can't bump into their neighbour who's friends with their mum.

BlameItOnTheCuervHoHoHo Fri 16-Nov-12 18:08:15

I can't see anything wrong in it either.

GhostShip Fri 16-Nov-12 18:13:43

How does a clinic make a person more empowered and self confident?

How can you not see that it will? Information is power. They'll be able to readily access information about their bodies, what can, will and might happen. They'll be confident in the fact they can go and get the help they need, without awkwardness or embarrassment or getting into trouble. You've got to remember some parents aren't helpful with these sorts of things, either personal reasons or religion.

If we don't have the clinics, it will still happen. Just without the extra safety net

AThingInYourLife Fri 16-Nov-12 18:47:42

"How can you not see that it will? Information is power. They'll be able to readily access information about their bodies, what can, will and might happen. They'll be confident in the fact they can go and get the help they need, without awkwardness or embarrassment or getting into trouble."

That is the kind of facile, unrealistic shite I'd expect to hear from someone young enough to attend a clinic like this.

First of all, a clinic is not a place where you go to get knowledge.

It will prescribe certain drugs, give out condoms and maybe chat to (willing) teenagers.

If you want a population of pupils to be knowledgeable about sex you need to provide good sex education. That is entirely separate from the provision of a special sex clinic.

Second of all, there is a big difference between the help teenagers think they need and the help adults want to give them.

A clinic such as this won't change the nature of today's teenagers or the culture in which they are growing up.

Having a nurse once a week that a few students can visit to get condoms or pregnancy tests is not going to be some amazing panacea for the sexual dysfunctions of the young.

The ones who are embarrassed about talking to their GP will feel just as awkward about seeing a nurse in school. Either way the connection to authority (parents, school) is explicit.

I would have thought a clinic near (but not in) a school that ran some kind of youth peer advice sessions would be far more likely to gain the confidence of teenagers who distrust or disdain the usual places where contraceptives can be sought out.

"Stick a sex clinic in the school" is about as lazy an idea you could come up with and the things people on this thread are fancifully claiming it would (not might) achieve are laughable.

44SoStartingOver Fri 16-Nov-12 18:54:27

Do most schools offer c cards and supplies?
Do you think access to a nurse might be helpful for those experiencing non consensual sex? Would it tie in with child protection?

GhostShip Fri 16-Nov-12 19:01:23

Actually you're wrong there.

The clinics in question are usually ran by Brook Sexual Health Advisory Center. Note the 'advisory' term. They educate as well as give out contraception. Ours ran a class once a week, as well as giving us very detailed information before they gave us condoms, morning after pill etc. They're ran by very experienced sexual health nurses and advisers, trained especially to work with teens. They aren't just people trained to hand out drugs and condoms.

The education they gave was excellent. As I've said before, they were down to earth, straight forward and easy to talk to. Better than a lesson about sex from your out of touch maths teacher.

People were interested, and genuinely learned a lot. They taught us about STI's, it actually encouraged people to use condoms, something which I'd not seen before.

The ones who are embarrassed about talking to their GP will feel just as awkward about seeing a nurse in school. Either way the connection to authority (parents, school) is explicit
Again you're wrong. I was on of those kids. I knew many. At 14 we weren't old enough to make doctors appointments and travel to get their, we had to ask our parents. Talking to one of the 'advisors' was completely different. It wasn't even like talking to a nurse, they dressed in jeans and t-shirts, a ploy to help us connect better with them. It worked.

And the school itself didn't have much connection. Everything was confidential. A person would just drop in during break or dinner and get the help they need. NO teacher knew what you were doing, there was no teacher involvement.

Funny how you pooh pooh what I'm saying, when I'm someone who is now an adult and has the experience of one of these clinics.

And I was pretty open to you ideas until you tried to insult me due to my age, maybe your age is one of the reasons you're so out of touch with todays youth? Not nice to be judged on your age is it.

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