By STUART DYE education reporter

A school principal has banned a visiting sex education speaker after a class of 16-year-olds was given an "entirely inappropriate" lesson.

The teenagers, a mixed class of boys and girls, were asked if they had masturbated lately and were given condoms and strawberry-flavoured lubricant.

They were also given a leaflet featuring graphic pictures, terms including "cock" and "wank", and advice on the best condoms.

The Aids Foundation, which organised the lesson at Northcote College on the North Shore, said the school was well aware of what would be discussed.

But principal Ted Benton said it was not condoned and the speaker would not be returning.

"Either from lack of experience or thinking they were clever, this person has said something entirely inappropriate. They will not be back."

Two presenters from the Aids Foundation attended Northcote College for the sexuality education lesson on Wednesday.

One of the classes went without a hitch, but the other went "beyond what is acceptable", disturbing parents and upsetting some of the Year 12 (form 6) students.

One parent, who declined to be named, described the package given to his daughter as disgusting.

"This stuff has no place in our schools," he said.

Mr Benton said the school had taken all reasonable steps to check the nature and content of the talk.

"But the way it was presented was not run past us."

The "hardwear toolbox" containing condoms, lubricant and a leaflet had also not been sanctioned, he said.

But the Aids Foundation insists the school made the mistake.

"They knew the content, they had given it the okay and now they are trying to cover their tracks," said Kerry Price, manager of the foundation's health-promotion programme.

Lessons were usually run to train teachers how to conduct the talks, but the school had requested a presentation to pupils, said Mr Price.

"Masturbation is certainly an issue discussed in the programme in terms of people finding it difficult to talk about."

Mr Price said the same lesson had been given at Northcote College two weeks ago without any complaint.

The whole programme had to be considered in the context of the rise in HIV cases, and was designed to have an impact.

"We prefer to stick to training the teachers because it avoids problems like this which are unhelpful for all concerned," said Mr Price.

Mr Benton said the issue had re-opened the debate of whether sex education for a child should be the responsibility of the school or the parents.


Herald Feature: Education

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