Bob McCoskrie turns purple with outrage

Te Puke High School is defending its decision to give away condoms and safe sex advice in a school ball package, saying the move was intended to help students make better choices.

Family First director Bob McCoskrie has an opinion about this. Can you guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint: it isn’t pleasure that students are being provided with something to help protect themselves.

“The underlying message to students is that the ball is not about a fun social occasion with their peers, but about an expected opportunity to have sex,” he said.

“That is a foolish and dangerous message to be sending.”

The school had undermined the role of parental supervision by giving away the condoms without parental notification or permission, Mr McCoskrie said.

Holy shit, I had no idea that if someone gave you a condom, you have to use it! And use it right then and there, on the d-floor at your school ball! Bob exists in a state of perma-outrage, so I would expect nothing less from him.

The school principal, Alan Liddle, is a voice of reason in this outrage-fest

the criticism was a “beat-up”.”This really disappoints me. It was there to help people,” he told NZPA.

The package was put together by a student-driven health committee and contained a number of items to promote students’ safety, such as taxi chits.

“It was a student-driven initiative to support students.”

The inclusion of condoms had nothing to do with the promotion of sex, Mr Liddle said.

“If we’re talking about teenage pregnancies and STIs being a major problem in today’s society, I actually think that the kids have thought responsibly about this. They weren’t promoting anything,” Mr Liddle said.

“By giving a taxi chit, they’re not promoting drinking. They’re just giving them support if they need help.

“I think that’s what we need to focus on – how can we support our kids to make better choices?”

If people did not want the condoms “they could chuck them away”.

I think this sounds awesome. I would have loved to have been given free stuff when I went to my school ball (or, as we called it, the ‘formal’). And a taxi chit is a very useful thing! And as for the condoms; well, if people were planning to have sex, now they have condoms (if they didn’t before, which they may well have, because it isn’t like they can’t get a hold of condoms unless given them at their school ball!). And just because they get given a condom, doesn’t mean they will automatically go out and use it, or feel like they have to, or feel like suddenly the ball is no longer a “fun social occasion”, but a hormone-fuelled sex romp. Implying things like that gives these school students much, much less credit than they deserve. McCoskrie apparently thinks these kids are not very smart.

Additionally, the point about violation of parental notification/permission; well, correct me if I am wrong, but cant teenagers saunter up to Family Planning and snag themselves some free/subsidized (forgive my lack of exact knowledge here) condoms without needing parental consent? I vaguely remember people in my school getting condoms there, and I highly doubt there parents were involved in that transaction. And, on top of that, a teenager can just walk into a supermarket and buy a box themselves! I don’t believe that parents should be notified that their kids are being given a condom or two in t bag full of other free junk, because it isn’t as if this is providing something that is typically inaccessible.

Alan Liddle is right on: if kids don’t want to use them, they can chuck them (or not use them, or save them for later- a condom is a handy thing to have around, for both men and women!). And if they are going to have sex, it isn’t likely that the condom was the catalyst for that choice; I imagine sex was already on the cards anyway. Give these students some credit.

I think it is great that the school is being open and frank, and sending a message that if you choose to have sex, do it safely. It is foolish to think that there are no teenagers having sex, and promoting safe sex (and normalising condom use) is very important.

(On a side note, do you think the real reason Bob is upset is because he worries that people being given a condom will make them think about what it gets put on….a penis! Gasp! And then BAM! suddenly you are thinking about naked people and their naked bits and having lustful thoughts, tut tut.)


  1. Boganette says:

    I blogged about this too. It must take so much effort for Bob to stay so pissed off at everything 24-7.

    In terms of condoms & Family Planning – When I was in high school about nine or 10 years ago you could get boxes of 500 condoms for free at Family Planning. You just walked in, asked for some condoms and were given a massive box. They were flavoured too!

    • steph says:

      Yeah, when I was in high school I remember people coming back from Family Planning with condoms they got for free, so I imagine nothing has changed (thankfully!)