A UK school has issued students with a sex education homework sheet that appears to inform them that they can reuse a condom.
Amanda*, mother of 12-year-old Ashley, was horrified to read the worksheet that came home with her son from school this week; questioning why it was not more carefully edited.
Speaking to Fairfax Media she says, "I asked him if he had any homework yesterday and he pulled the paper sheet out of his bag and sat at the table last night completing it. He said 'Mum, it says here you can reuse a condom.'"
It stated, "Condoms can only be reused once," in what appears to be a typo or unfortunate error in expression.
"In disbelief I read the homework and told him it was a typing error," Amanda said, adding that she told Ashley he most definitely could not ever reuse a condom.
Amanda says she began talking about sex with Ashley from age 9 and has always been completely upfront and accurate with him about all the facts. To discover the school had sent home a sheet with such an inaccurate and confusing message for very young adolescents was deeply distressing for her. She took to Facebook to alert other parents of the potentially serious issue.
Asking her son to address the mistake with his science teacher directly, Amanda has also emailed Ashley's year adviser and sent a photo of the homework sheet with the mistake circled. The school has since contacted Amanda to thank her for bringing the error to their attention and confirmed that steps would be taken to rectify the mistake.
"It's just so frustrating that what I've tried to teach my child about the rules of safe sex has come into question. I have no doubt it was a typing error but with something as serious and important as this it should have been checked very carefully before handed out to students.
"Children obviously have trust in what their teachers are teaching them, so if a student has had little or no sex education at home and the school was the only resource for the information, they are going to read what was sent home and not question that this fact," she says.
Amanda thinks the whole year should be brought together to discuss the error because the consequences of misunderstanding what constitutes as safe sex are dire.
"It could mean an STI and pregnancy amongst our sexually curious teenagers," and she hopes that other parents at the school are having honest conversations about safe sex with their children.
*Last name and school withheld to protect the child's privacy.