Saddlers tackles tough teen sex issues

It’s a topic that has been discussed for as long as there have been teenagers. How to teach them to be sexually responsible and enjoy their youth? One community is taking a broad and direct approach as they tackle these issues head on.

The Guidance Counseling Department of the Saddlers Secondary School has launched Operation “Keepsake – Keep Safe”. It’s a comprehensive programme which involves health educators, police officers, teachers, guidance counselors and other officials as they try to spread the word about a responsible approach to sex.

During a meeting with students and parents on Thursday, principal of Saddlers Secondary School, Adina Richards, said they’ve taken this type of approach because they want to reach more than just the students.

“We could have done this at school during the health and family life sessions,” she said. “But we have recognized that at school we impart knowledge and skills to our students and then when they leave the school compound there’s a disconnect between the home and the school. To bridge this gap we have invited our parents to accompany the children this evening.”

District health official, Nurse Phillip said teen sexuality is affected by the need for love. She says in many cases teenage girls have sex because an adult male says he loves her.

“But love at this age should come from their parents,” she said. “Not just any old male. So in truth, teens, take care of yourself. Don’t let no one, and when I say no one I mean no one encourage you to have sex.”

The school has also recruited police officers to share information and experiences about dealing with men who have sex with underage girls. Officer Millard urged parents to ask questions when a teenager suddenly gets an expensive new item like a blackberry.

“When you see your daughter or your son bring home something that they have no cause to, question them!” he said. “Bring it to the police. Because a man looking for money is not going to give a little girl in primary school, who looks good, a blackberry for a thousand dollars without something. C’mon let’s think about it.”

Officials say the initiatives at Saddlers Secondary School are part of the pilot programme. They expect to take the project to schools in Tabernacle, St.Pauls, Mansion, Christ Church, Dieppe Bay and Parsons.

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