High schoolers want maternity leave

Filed under: Teens, Your Pregnancy, Day Care & Education

It's important for a woman to have time to regain her strength, heal, and bond with her new child after giving birth. Unfortunately, many businesses in this country do not provide a new mother (let alone a new father) with any paid time off, other than sick time and vacation. What if you're still in school, however?

Two counselors at a Denver, Colorado high school came up with the idea of giving pregnant students maternity leave -- time off after giving birth without facing the penalty of unexcused absences. Currently, girls have to return to school the day after they get out of the hospital. "My initial reaction is if we are punishing girls like that, that is unacceptable," said Nicole Head, one of the counselors. "We've got to do something."

Kayla Lewis, a senior at East High School, is five months pregnant. She too has asked the school board to allow for maternity leave for students. "After you have the baby, your body needs time to heal," she said.

"It's critical that these young women have a chance to bond with their babies," said school-board member Michelle Moss. "Maybe we do need a policy. Clearly, as a district, we have to look at what is going on with our young women. We've got to look at the birth-control issues and teen pregnancy and how we best help them deal with it and still graduate."

Certainly, the best case would be not to get pregnant in the first place, but failing that, is it better to have young mothers who do not have a high school diploma or ones who do? Personally, I'd rather make arrangements so that they can continue their schooling rather than have to support them later on.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.