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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??

mathanxiety Tue 20-Nov-12 17:18:42

I am another who cannot see how that set of issues couldn't be tackled. Surely you are wasting your time trying to teach children without trying to sort out the pastoral element first or at the same time, and not just from the pov of maintaining order?

The school I attended (in Ireland) had a very mixed intake and when I was there it was definitely just starting on its way downhill. The factors in the slide were the structure of the Irish secondary curriculum, which really didn't cater for students who were a long way behind, and the increasing numbers of children attending from two massive housing estates, from all kinds of dysfunctional families, and staying in school after age 16, in conjunction with the presence of teachers who had been trained to teach the rather academic curriculum and hired because they had top honours degrees in their subjects. After a very rocky ten years the school slowly pulled itself back to functionality, opened a creche for the babies and small children of students (and teachers), got MH counsellors and a nurse on site, hired teachers with a proven track record of dealing effectively with troubled teenagers and not necessarily just honours degrees.

hellsbells99 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:08:48

They also have a Counsellor available by appointment on Thursdays and a Careers Advisor by appointment on Wednesdays! So trying to cover pupils needs where possible. This is advertised in the same place as the Chess club, knitting club etc. probably so its made out to be life as normal and no big deal!

hellsbells99 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:04:28

Our school (state school, reasonable catchment, good grades etc) does have this sort of facility but it is advertised as a general health service:
'Health and Well-being: The School Nurse will be holding a drop-in service
every Monday lunch time in Room 22'

InNeedOfBrandy Tue 20-Nov-12 09:33:38

I was one of those kids that got dumped on granny before I got put into foster care. And I went to a school exactly how you describe and worse (apart from the seaside aspect) and we all traipsed around catching buses to go (there was no real shame it was normal) to the clinic and I know a lot of girls who just crossed their fingers and hoped as they couldn't get to the clinic to get the MAP.

Your also hearing first hand from ghost who had this experience in school herself, something that you don't have no matter how you charmingly describe your students.

gothanne your last line, funny how someone arguing the same side as you was the first person to bring age into the conversation, saying my view was to be expected because of my age. Yes that, are you religious to?

GhostShip Tue 20-Nov-12 08:16:46

See you think that, but I went to one of the roughest schools in the area where kids were from shit backgrounds and didn't haven't much upbringing, and the bullying didn't happen. If implemented in the right way it won't.

deleted203 Tue 20-Nov-12 03:13:11

If you are talking of our pupils then a lot of them grow up in homes that are pretty rough. Often no one is 'bringing them up'. Quite a few have parents who are alcoholics, or drug users, or too tired and defeated, or simply not interested enough to care about their kids. They are tough, streetwise, quite a lot are 'cared for' children (or in foster care as we used to call it). A fair percentage (particularly 14/15 yo boys) are being cared for by granny and grandad. We are in a coastal area and a lot of our pupils are actually from very rough inner cities - by 14/15 they are into drugs or gangs or gun crime; and mum is a single parent with 4 or 5 kids from different fathers. BUT....granny/grandad have retired to the coast and mum can't cope with her wild 14 yo son any more so she dumps him on granny for a fresh start. We are in an area of massively high unemployment/seasonal employment. Low wages. No industry. Very little incentive for kids to get qualifications (or so they believe). And we are doing our best. But believe me, despite being highly professional and well trained (and very experienced) if you have never taught in a tough and challenging school then you can have no idea how impossible it is to 'stop' this type of behaviour. You can clamp down on it - no one will step out of line in my classroom for example. But you will not stop the jeering and the whispering and the bullying at lunchtime or out of school. If you've never seen a 15 yo girl made suicidal by a vicious Facebook campaign then you are very lucky. A sexual health clinic in school would provide HUGE fuel for this type of thing. And unfortunately teachers have no control over FB.

mathanxiety Tue 20-Nov-12 02:50:46

What sort of homes do these children 'grow up' in? Who is bringing them up?

(Serious questions)

And another:

Are responsible, professional, educated and presumably well-trained-to-deal-with-teenagers adults really as powerless to intervene and stop this rot as Sowornout and LastSplash imply?

deleted203 Tue 20-Nov-12 02:37:37

Haven't read all the messages, but agree absolutely with lastSplash. As a teacher I know darn well that a 'sexual health drop in' clinic in our school would be a complete nightmare.

Anyone going into it would be the immediate subject of horrendous gossip - as in 'OMG - X has got VD. It's totally true. They went to see the nurse about it' whereas they may well have gone because they were worried about period pains. Shy and quiet boys would have the mickey taken out of them if they didn't have condoms like the cocky (sorry) boys. They would be under dreadful pressure to either accept other lads (and girls) mocking them, or suffer the mortification of going and asking for condoms from a health nurse - awful situation for a sensitive 13/14 year old boy to be in. The rumours about who was pregnant/who'd got the clap, etc would be constant. There are certainly plenty of kids in our school who would simply go to see the nurse to snigger and make comments like, 'my gf won't take it up the arse and I've told her it's normal' and 'I had 3 girls suck my cock yesterday - will it fall off?'

The trouble with providing a facility like this is that the adults discussing it assume that it will be used sensibly, sensitively and with maturity by the clients. In a school full of teens/pre teens it won't. It will simply be used to provide bragging rights/bullying/trying to embarass the nurse.

mathanxiety Tue 20-Nov-12 01:34:21

'There is also an annoying trend that all social problems are the responsibility of schools to fix, that the only people with any sort of role in children's lives are schools and it's the only place they can turn for help. '

The school is actually the ideal place to use as the point of contact with teens who need help, because that is the one place 99% of them go. The school where I saw a health clinic work well (with sexual health included as part of the services) functioned as a clearinghouse for any other services students seemed to need. It was part of an umbrella group called Community Care Network where all the responsible professionals could easily communicate and co-operate for the benefit of students referred to community agencies for various issues.

GhostShip Mon 19-Nov-12 18:21:34

For young teenage girls, such issues are just the tip of the iceberg

I'd say getting pregnant is at the very tip of many girls 'icebergs'. Its the one thing that can dramatically change their life forever, and they need access to the information and contraception.

I honestly don't what to patronise anyone here, but some of you musnt know what life is like for some people. In a dream world kids can speak to their parents about stuff like this and get the things they need, in A LOT of cases this doesn't happen, for whatever reason.
I'm one of those people, the clinic was a godsend when it came and others felt the same. We were having sex anyway, taking risks, this happened BEFORE it came. The clinic came and made it safer, we had someone to talk to, somewhere we could go and address our fears. Seriously not many people want to talk about thick discharge to their mums! Or the fact that they need the morning after pill!

gothanne your last line, funny how someone arguing the same side as you was the first person to bring age into the conversation, saying my view was to be expected because of my age.

GothAnneGeddes Mon 19-Nov-12 17:14:24

InNeed - No one is saying "preach abstinence". No one.

However, the fact that your response is to deem anyone who disagrees with you as "old" speaks absolute volumes. There are major underlying issues with what we are teaching our young people with regards to relationships, it's about more then just pregnancy and STI's.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 14:59:26

It is possible to want teens to have access to a sexual health clinic and not want that clinic to be at their school.

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 19-Nov-12 14:29:07

To be honest I don't see how unless your elderly (not really an excuse my nan would love for this to happen but I'll give it) or part of some religious cult you can honestly say you wouldn't want easy safe access for your teens to a sexual health clinic, and how you couldn't possible understand these clinics are not just for STDs.

Teenage sex does happen 30% before the age of 16, school age has been made to 18 leaving age soon/now to so even if they wait till 16 thats still 2 years of legal sex to be had while still at school.

But yes lets just preach abstinence and have more teen pregnencys and STDs instead hmm

jennycrofter Mon 19-Nov-12 14:17:55

Over the weekend, I have realised that there may be somewhere in town, other than the school. We have a leisure centre, with a few smaller rooms in it. I may suggest that - though it doesn't help the DCs who live rurally (about 20%). In the long term, we hope to build a community centre, but that is a few years away. Plan A had been to have it based there in a teenage cafe. Unfortunately, the current plans don't include that.sad

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 14:12:20

"There is also an annoying trend that all social problems are the responsibility of schools to fix, that the only people with any sort of role in children's lives are schools and it's the only place they can turn for help."


The "stick it on the national curriculum" approach to solving problems.

GothAnneGeddes Mon 19-Nov-12 13:54:48

InNeed - I'm 32. Not sure if you're trying to imply that I'm some fusty old prude.

Someone upthread specifically referred to year 9 pupils, those are 13 year olds. If 13 is perfectly fine as an age to have sex, why is the age of consent 16?

Also, I don't think that cutting the rates of teenage pregnancies and STI's are all we need to be concerned with. For young teenage girls, such issues are just the tip of the iceberg.

DontmindifIdo Mon 19-Nov-12 12:49:47

Also OP - this gives the impression the only time you'll need help/advice is if you are a school pupil - if your health centre isn't an easy place to access advice in private (huge problem there), then perhaps a drop in centre that older teens/home-eded pupils could access without it being a 'school' thing would help? Surely there are other public buildings in your town? (library? Council offices?) Or the other idea of consulting rooms at the pharmacy does sound good.

DontmindifIdo Mon 19-Nov-12 12:46:25

Personally, I think it while it sounds like your town needs a drop in clinic/consulting rooms for advice, but I don't think the school is the right location - while the actual advice and help they would get would be private, it would be hard in a school to keep the fact that children had gone for advice private. That would be enough in some schools.

It also makes it the school's responsibilty/problem - now while the school itself won't have any control over what is said and what is handed out, it will be the school that any upset parents blame.

There is also an annoying trend that all social problems are the responsibility of schools to fix, that the only people with any sort of role in children's lives are schools and it's the only place they can turn for help.

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 19-Nov-12 12:32:22

I would love love love a clinic in every single school up and down the country. The rates of teenage pregnancy's would drop even more. ATM we have the lowest rate of teen pregnency's since the 60s and I'm sure it's because clinics that are already in schools and greater education has been the key.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 12:23:29

"emphasising girls from an increasingly younger age being "safely available" for boys. It's depressing."


It really is.

And yes, virgin and slut are used in the same schools by the same people.

Girls have a very thin line to tread between them to behave acceptably.

The idea that teenage sex is all innocent exploration of the beauty of sexuality is very wide of the mark.

And a clinic in the school won't change that.

It will just give underage sex the school's imprimatur.

cory Mon 19-Nov-12 09:45:53

For every school where virgin is used as an insult I suspect there is another one where the insult of choice is slut. Actually, more often than not they're probably the same school...sad

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 19-Nov-12 08:07:31

Gothanne how old are you? Year 9 is 10/11 years ago for me but the shagging around had started. It wasn't a big deal some did some didn't it was not a child protection issue. Some girls stayed virgins till after we left school and no they didn't get called names for it.

GhostShip Mon 19-Nov-12 07:50:50

Am I supposed to be filled with shock and horror when mentioning it? It isn't a child protection issue. The teens wanted to have sex with each other. There's nothing wrong with that at all. And I don't remember anyone being insulted for being a virgin, no-one was bothered.

GothAnneGeddes Mon 19-Nov-12 05:50:08

I have to agree with the pressure to have sex. Virgin was frequently used as an insult in our school, to which there was no comeback, because who wanted to admit to being a virgin?

A clinic like this in a school would be a clear marker of who the "cool kids" were who had sex. Then, you'd get the girls who wanted to appear like they were cool asking for the contraceptive pill, which does not suit everyone.

I can't believe a mass outbreak of STI's in year 9's is mentioned so casually upthread. These are 13 year old's. For so many of them to be sexually active is a child protection issue.

There is more to a healthy, happy sex life then contraception and openness. Particularly in the misogynist society we live in, something which a lot of sex education doesn't even being to tackle, instead emphasising girls from an increasingly younger age being "safely available" for boys. It's depressing.

mathanxiety Mon 19-Nov-12 04:42:40

The terrible attitudes that would lead to that sort of bullying might be something the clinic could work on?

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