Can Teen Pregnancy and School Mix?
Writer| Alden Sayre
Teenage pregnancy can carry stigmas and labels, which can make navigating high school and college difficult.
Elizabeth Strong got pregnant at 18, just six months into her schooling at Empire Beauty School. After hearing the news, her mother lost faith in her ability to finish school.
“I just remember my mom being so upset, insisting I was going to drop out,” said Strong.
Strong went on to finish school and has owned her salon for 18 years.
So, why do parents react so negatively to the news?
According to the NCSL article, Postcard: Teen Pregnancy Affects Graduation Rates, only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school, and fewer than 2 percent finish college by age 30.
Could more school resources help pregnant teens graduate?
The ACLU article, Teen Pregnancy, Discrimination, and the Dropout Rate states: “When schools make an effort to support pregnant girls in their education, they can have a significant impact in lowering their drop-out rates.”
Strong got this support from Empire Beauty School.
“They let me eat snacks, drink in class, and park in front of the school,” she said.
Their kindness meant a lot to her, and she is now a member of their advisory panel.
If a little support can go a long way, why are the dropout rates still so high?
According to the ACLU, “illegal discrimination against these girls by school administrators, teachers, counselors, and fellow students is a major contributing factor.”
Strong is an anomaly, according to these stats, because she didn’t drop out. Instead, she did everything she wanted to and more--including doing runway hair for fashion models in New York.
With support and compassion, some pregnant teens can overcome the statistics.