Thursday 21 March, 2019

T2S addressing pressure to have sex amongst teens

(left) Guidance Counselor, Hariet Browne, Coordinator of the T2S Program, Cecilia Neblett-Murray and Principal of the Springer Memorial School, Mitchelle Maxwell.
The National HIV/AIDS Commission donated paint and supplies to refurbish the Guidance Counselor's room at The Springer Memorial school.

(left) Guidance Counselor, Hariet Browne, Coordinator of the T2S Program, Cecilia Neblett-Murray and Principal of the Springer Memorial School, Mitchelle Maxwell. The National HIV/AIDS Commission donated paint and supplies to refurbish the Guidance Counselor's room at The Springer Memorial school.

The National HIV/AIDS Commission, through its, Transition to Secondary School Program (T2S) is tackling head-on all the taboo topics of sex and sexual development to prepare students for life at their new schools.  

The T2S program, now in its fourth year, was officially launched today with The Springer Memorial School being the first of 21 schools across the island to begin the teaching modules of the program.  

Behavioural Change Specialist with the HIV/AIDS Commission and Coordinator of the T2S Program, Cecilia Neblett-Murray told reporters the T2S program covers a range of topics such as substance abuse, bullying, HIV and STI education as well as gender and development, with each topic being linked back to HIV/AIDS education.  

She said the pressure for students to start engaging in sexual activity increases significantly when they enter secondary school.  

“We look at abstinence … staying as long as possible without having sex. We look at strategies to use in negotiating not having sex with your friends at school. We’re looking at bullying because you can also link that to sex as well, when persons bully you into having early sex.” 

Neblett-Murray said the Commission has recognized there are certain soft skills, apart from academics, which students need in order to have a smooth transition from primary into secondary school.  

She noted peer-pressure for these young ones to consume alcohol as a precursor to engaging in sexual activity is also a challenge. She said the T2S program has adopted a strict no-tolerance stance to alcohol use, recognizing that the substance “disrupts all aspects of life”.  

Neblett-Murray stressed it was “never too early” for students to be educated about their sexuality. She said the Commission conducted a pilot study in primary schools and the results showed students were eager and willing to learn about sex and drug use and the Commission has recognized that early reinforcement produces better results. 

“We want to make sure that our students have all the knowledge and the skills that they need to make good decisions in life so that is why we reached out at the primary school level as well.” 

She added the Commission is also partnering with Parent Teacher Associations, the Barbados Association of Guidance Counselors and school boards to help further message of the T2S program. 

 

 

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