I can't really think of any "good" way to find out your teenage daughter is pregnant, can you? But the shenanigans at one charter school in Louisiana certainly ranks up on the list of "worst ways" to discover you're about to be a grandmother. When officials at the public school suspect a student is pregnant, they force her to get a pregnancy test.
Oh, and if she refuses or if she tests positive, the poor kid is kicked out of the Delhi Charter School. Pardon the rather crass response here: but are these people friggin nuts?
I'm going to say it again: I don't want my daughter ending up a teen mom. I would like her to have the advantages that come with being a grown woman with a career before the baby fairy comes a callin'.
But life happens. Kids happen. And if it came to pass, here's how I would want it to go down: I'd want her to take the pregnancy test at home ... not with some judgmental physician chosen by the school (part of Delhi's rules) hovering just outside the bathroom stall. She's sure to be under enough stress finding out she's pregnant; she doesn't need more.
What she would need is me, her mom, there to comfort her and help her start to plan our next steps as a family. And you had better believe that plan would include doing everything possible to ensure she stayed in school and got her high school diploma.
Pregnancy still ranks as the number one reason teenage girls drop out of school. The burden high school dropouts put on the economy is extraordinary -- by some estimates it's as much as $8 billion on the shoulders of the American taxpayer -- and then you have to add in the emotional costs. It's bad for the teen, bad for her baby, bad for the community. And yet, surveys of those who dropped out have shown the majority would have stuck with it until graduation if they'd just had some adult support to make sure it happened.
What's happening in Delhi, Louisiana right now is being challenged by the ACLU for its likely illegality because the school receives public funding. But this type of discrimination against public teens shouldn't be practiced anywhere -- even private schools -- unless the message we want to send our kids is "we wish you the absolute worst in life." Who really wants to tell their kid that?
What would you do if your kid's school forced her to take a pregnancy test?
Image via hairgeek/Flickr
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