KINGSTON – Opposition Leader Andrew Holness is maintaining his stance against the distribution of condoms in schools, arguing that the school is “not a dispensary for prophylactics”.
“The health sector can if they so choose to do, they have trained personnel to distribute condoms,” Holness told the Jamaica Observer on Monday during an interview.
“We distribute knowledge, they can put up in the school a display to show how condoms are to be used. It is inappropriate, I believe to the majority of Jamaicans and parents too to have the school become a dispensary,” added the Jamaica Labour Party leader, who served as education minister from 2007 to 2011.
Furthermore, he said to undertake any such action at present would constitute a violation.
“There are laws which would have to be changed because to hand out a condom to an under aged girl that a guidance counsellor or other professional would have detected in the school is to suggest the legality of the action. Whereas the more appropriate thing to do within the school environment, which is what the school is mandated to do, is to provide information to the child about where they can go and get contraceptives if they need them and in my view to use their discretion in informing parents as to the activities and danger of the children,” he pointed out.
Earlier this month, Jamaica Teachers’ Association Head Clayton Hall stood down a suggestion by the National Family Planning Board that minors should be given access to condoms and other reproductive health measures.
“Education has to have a moral position… and I don’t want that to be confused with religious position; there is no society that can exist without right and wrong. Right now the schools are under severe stress in teaching that moral compass so what school is doing now is sending a lot of conflicting messages, you cannot run an education system like that,” Holness noted. (Jamaica Observer)