Pregnant teens have a tough time in school. Not just because of bullying and teasing, but also because of a lack of help from the schools themselves.
Schools across the country are divided on how to handle teen pregnancy, from kicking them out or even penalizing them for pregnancy-related absences, reports Fox News.
Other schools who don’t kick pregnant teens out say that they are not able to support costly programs like tutoring, child care, and transportation for teens who live a few miles from the school but either have young children or are pregnant.
The Centers for Disease Control notes that roughly 400,000 girls/young women between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth in 2010, which is a rate of 34 per 1,000.
A new report by the Women’s Law Center shows that child advocates are now pushing for greater adherence to a 1972 law that bans sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities.
Unfortunately, schools have been forced to cut programs like those needed for pregnant teens, either because there simply isn’t enough funding, or because states, like California, have said that such programs are not mandatory, reports The Huffington Post.
The program in California was very successful, but a ruling in 2008 stated that it was no longer mandatory for schools to provide, allowing the districts to use the money for different programs.
The program boasted a 73 percent graduation rate in 2010 and helped more than 100.000 pregnant and parenting students. It helped these students with classwork and connected them to social services.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson stated, “It’s unfortunate that this effective program fell prey to the enormous budge challenges we are facing as a state.”
Wisconsin lawmakers dropped a law three years ago that helped give pregnant students who live within two miles of a school free rides to school. The requirement was part of an effort to improve access to education and reduce infant mortality rates.
Unfortunately, less than half of states have a law that helps pregnant teens access the education that they want, and arguably that they deserve.
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