The pregnancy rate among students at a Memphis high school has reached alarming proportions, as more than 90 girls at Frayser High School in predominantly Black Shelby County, Tenn. have already given birth this year or are pregnant, according to reports.
One of the girls, mother of a two-month old daughter, told WMC-TV in Memphis that more needs to be done by school officials to teach students about pregnancy prevention.
Tericka Sutton, 16, said she discovered she was having a baby in her fifth month of pregnancy.
“It’s a shame that all of these girls are pregnant, but it’s nothing new,” Sutton said. Referring to her own pregnancy she said that although “it just happened,” family and friends were aghast at the revelation.
Asked if there might have been a pact among others to get pregnant, Sutton told the TV station that it was possible, but those she knew who got pregnant did so because they thought it was cute, or conceived by accident.
Frayser High School enrolls 800 students, and the Tennessee Education Department claims pregnant girls make up 20 percent of the school’s female population.
Alicia Williamson, who graduated from Frayser in 2004, told WMC-TV that adults are just beginning to catch on to the problem.
“When we would come back from summer break, there would be a thousand people pregnant,” she was quoted as saying. “We were like, ‘What's going on?’ There were a whole lot of bellies.”
According to the online publication Black Spin, teens who give birth are usually unprepared for the challenges of parenthood and often drop out of school. They also end up taking low-paying jobs and never complete their education. Children born to teen moms are also often sicker, poorer and less educated as a group.
Meanwhile, school officials are scrambling to curb the pregnancy trend by working on a pregnancy prevention initiative expected to go into effect by the end of January.