Do you think that keeping pregnant teens in the same high school with everyone else "normalizes" teen pregnancy and makes it more likely that other teens will get pregnant? If so, do you think that the answer is segregating teen moms out of the general school population?From the same Chicago schools system that saw 16-year-old Derrion Albert bludgeoned to death, another troubling story :
It is a Chicago public school full of energy and spirit. It has about 800 girls, and 115 of them have something in common – something you might find disturbing. ... All those young ladies are moms or moms-to-be at Paul Robeson High School. It's not a school for young mothers, it's a neighborhood school. And all of the pregnancies have happened, despite prevention talk.Good bloody question. We've all heard about the same thing happening in the white, working-class enclave of Glouscester, Mass. This state of affairs seems a far cry from the infamous Grease scene wherein the drive-in crowd plays telephone with the news that "Rizzo's got a bun in the oven." At Robeson, no one seems to care that over a hundred young women are now raising children alone (the write-up barely mentions any male co-conspirators or caretakers). Even the article's author seems careful to hedge on whether one "might" find the pregnancy epidemic "disturbing."
If you want to know why, the people closest to the situation say there's no simple explanation.
Chicago Public Schools says it does not track the overall number of teen moms in the district. But Robeson Principal Gerald Morrow knows the count at his school in Englewood ... To put it in perspective, their school pictures would fill roughly six pages of their high school year book.
Why is it happening at Robeson?
The expressed desire to minimize the absurdity of one in seven young women being with child raises the question of whether these minors should be in a high school created specifically for young mothers. Though there is a new teen parent program at the school-a former crack house is being converted to daycare for the dozens of babies with mothers still struggling through PE and prom-the school administrator interviewed didn't seem to think that differentiating between maidens and mothers is important. "We're not looking at them like 'Ooh, you made a mistake,'" he said. "We're looking at how we can get them to the next phase, how can we still get them thinking about graduation?"
That's a valid perspective-but is there an advantage to keeping young mothers segregated? The Washington Post printed two stories in the last year on local high schools dealing with young mothers (Ann Hulbert writes relatedly here ). One school provides regular classes, day care, and too-good-to-be-true emotional and logistical support ; the other was an embattled, full-time residential school for mothers . The latter institution was closed in June for abysmal academic performance. But at both, the normalizing of such pregnancies was a constant concern. "I'm amazed-and concerned-by the apparently nonchalant attitude both these girls and their mothers exhibit in front of teachers, administrators and hundreds of students each day," wrote (male) author Patrick Welsh, about the school where mothers and nonparents were integrated.
Why is kiddie integration so dangerous? At Freakonomics, Janet Currie has the grim statistics .
Teen moms are less likely than other women to attend or complete college, and their marriages are more likely to end in divorce; about 50 percent of women who married younger than age 18 are divorced after 10 years, compared to 20 percent of women who married at age 25 or older. In turn, single mothers have the highest poverty rates of any demographic group, and 60 percent of the U.S.-born children in mother-only families are poor.In other words, it's bad to have a baby before becoming an adult. Policymakers, including educators, should take every opportunity, large or small, to emphasize that. You can't "catch" a baby like, say, H1N1, but integrating parents into high schools sends a message to young people that life before and after pregnancy is pretty much the same-which may well have contributed to the Bush-era increase in teen births (the nonsense abstinence thing is hurting, too). Bouncing pregnant teens (send the dads, too!) out of the mainline public school system is a way of countering this narrative-rather like the "uncle's farm" to which women of the Mad Men era were dispatched.
This may sound retrograde to a culture that's flippantly agitating for maternity leave for childless women , but what's more, emphasizing not only the seismic lifestyle changes that parenthood brings but ways to prevent pregnancy and care for kids seems more likely to stick in a learning environment that is specifically targeted to those aims.
So why does it seem taboo to say so?
Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013
I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson
No, and no. My experience was exactly the opposite.
When I was in high school, in the early 80s, my home school district had a special program for teenaged moms. It was absolutely optional, but it seemed like every pregnant girl went there. It provided full-time on-site child care, parenting classes, childhood nutrition classes, counseling services, home study during the post-partum period so new moms wouldn't fall behind, and job-skills training in addition to regular academics. The regular school day was 8am to 5pm and breakfast & lunch were provided. Breastfeeding was encouraged & supported, and every mom worked in the day care for two school periods every day. It seemed like a great setup to support new moms to continue their educations. I had seven neighborhood friends transfer to that school when they got pregnant, but here's the interesting thing: not one of them got a "real" job after graduation, and every one of them had another baby within two years. So something wasn't working.
I also knew two girls who stayed at their regular schools, in other areas of town with a higher socio-economic demographic, during their pregnancies and after giving birth. These two girls weren't given any extra privileges or perks at school, they had to find their own childcare & make their own breakfast, and they had to be back at school soon after giving birth, but those girls both went to college and got married before having another child. And they were the only girls at those two schools to get pregnant, or perhaps I should say, to stay pregnant since I don't know if anyone had an abortion. I think what "normalizes" teen pregnancy is a low socio-economic demographic, not access to education or having other pregnant teens at the same school. Yes, I know rich kids get pregnant, too, but when you look at the schools where pregnancy has become the norm, they are usually in the poorer areas.
David Letterman is retiring. Such great memories of watching him over the past thirty-two years!
I'm confused as to how the writer or how the school expects a teen pregnant mom or their parent to act in front of them? If one of my kids were ever to become a teen parent, I certainly wouldn't be crying a river to the school and I also would insist on my child remaining in the mainstream unless there was an extenuating circumstances aside from the sole fact that they are pregnant.
I don't agree with segregating a pregnant teen from everyone in fear that others will follow their lead. How is that different than the fear in the 80's where they were afraid that AIDS was catchy if they spoke to you or touched you? If there is a rash of girls intentionally getting pregnant, it's not because they see others doing it and that it's the kewl thing to do, it's more because of a need they're missing and craving. For many, school may be the only norm they have and rely on that stable environment.
If segregating were such a great idea, they sure better segregate those that have been proven to be the father as well. It's not right to discriminate on the basis of one becoming a parent or about to become a parent, let alone based on gender of the parent. Shame and punishment for being a teen parent is not what teen parents need. They will have enough responsibilities and changes added to their plate the way it is. I can't see how segregating would legally fly anyway.
DD Twins: 8/4/09 @ 35 Wks - No NICU, woot!
This is off topic, and totally not meant to attack you Noelle, because I know that it is just a very commonly used phrase, but can I just say how much I hate the phrase "Keep your legs closed" or "Keep your legs crossed" in regards to talking about girls not having sex. It just grosses me out. Anyway, totally off topic.
To the OP, I understand what they are saying, and to a certain extent I think that there are teenage girls out there that get pregnant because "Everyone's doing it." I watched a documentary about young teenagers who were actively trying to get pregnant, and it seemed to me that the teens they interviewed seemed to think of pregnancy and babies like an accessory. I remember them talking about how cute they were going to look with "the belly" and how they were going to coordinate their kid's outfits to match their own. I got the feeling from watching it that a lot of girls in their lives had gotten what they perceived to be positive attention for being pregnant, and that is what they wanted.
And remember the story about those teen girls who entered into a "pregnancy pact" a couple of years ago?
I don't know that the answer should be "segregating" teen moms, but I do think there is some merit to the idea that teen pregnancy is "catchy".
In my (religious) school they just dealt with it the good old fashioned way, they kicked out anyone who got pregnant (tacitly encouraging abortion, of course, though they were extremely hard core pro life.) Logical, right?
Anyway, I don't think that segregating the girls would work. Its not like the other girls dont see the pregnant ones after school, around the neighborhood, etc.
Alissa, I feel the same way about that phrase! The other one that makes me gag a little is "Shut your pie hole". I don't know why, it is relatively innocuous...just totally makes me feel gross!
I went to a high school in a lower to middle class neighborhood with about 10% White population. Teen pregnancy was almost epidemic. I'm not saying they should be segregated, but to think that it doesn't impact the kids around them is false. Especially among girls who are craving attention and love.