New York Plans School for Expectant Teen Parents

Filed under: In The News, Teen Culture

School for Teen Moms and Pregnant Teens

Teen moms may get a new school of their own in New York. Credit: Getty

"Give me a P! Give me an R! Give me an E-G-N-A-N-T!"

OK, so don't expect much from their basketball team, but a new Brooklyn, N.Y., school is in the works for pregnant teenagers.

Its track and field program seems equally doomed, but no matter. The student body has already gotten quite a physical education.

The New York Post reports the New Directions Charter High School in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood will open next year if all goes according to plan. While most of its anticipated 300 students will be pregnant girls, some young expectant fathers are expected to attend, as well.

There also will be an on-site day care center.

The Post reports this isn't the first time New Yorkers have tried to set aside a school for expectant teens. Four similar schools closed in 2007.

Even so, supporters tell the Post, the need remains.

"A lot of times when they go back to the regular school setting, there's a lot of stigmatization," Jacquelyn Wideman, who submitted the charter application with the Faith Assemblies of God Church (which would run the school), tells the Post. "The goal is for them to perform at the same optimum level as regular high schools."

According to the Post, some 7,700 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth in the city (mostly in Brooklyn and The Bronx) in 2009. However, providing them with a school and getting them to attend are two different things.

The Post reports the previous schools closed primarily because of low attendance.

Nowadays, according to the newspaper, the city mostly offers day care programs and health services inside or near mainstream high schools.

"I don't think that we should be creating schools that segregate young women or men based on their parenting status," Benita Miller, executive director of Brooklyn Young Mothers Collective, tells the Post. "We don't need them to graduate as good mothers. We need them to graduate as educated young women who can head to college."

Asenath Andrews, principal of the Catherine Ferguson Academy for pregnant and parenting teens in Detroit, disagrees.

"I think they need to exist," she tells the Post. "But they need to exist with an expectation of excellence, not just warehousing."

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