Maternity Leaves From School Are the Last Thing Teen Moms Need

Say What!? 34

schoolMaternity leave is a hot button issue for mothers in a country that lags far behind most first world nations in providing for new moms. But the ACLU of New Mexico isn't looking to fight for some time off from your job right now. They're too focused on trying to set up a teen maternity leave.

That's one way to deal with the teen pregnancy problem, huh? Get these girls more time away from school?

The plan would enable teenage mothers to have 14 excused absences per semester from school rather than the typical 10. There's also talk of another 10 days on top of that for these girls to spend at home, be it to recover from birth or to bond with their babies.

Reading details, I'm more mixed than I expected to be when I first saw the words "teen maternity leave."

Maternity leave is certainly beneficial to both a mother and her baby. Time together allows a mother to develop important routines that will enable her to be successful at breastfeeding. It promotes healthy practices that benefit kids far beyond the baby stage. It shows a mother that she has value as a mother! Considering statistics already show that the children of teen mothers generally have a decreased chance at success in comparison to their peers, these kids (and the moms) could use a little extra help.

But what are we talking about here? Four extra days per semester? That's hardly enough time to get a breastfeeding routine going or recover from the trauma of giving birth. We aren't actually talking about anything that would positively impact the lives of these girls or their babies.

Instead, I fear, it will sound like a special perk for the pregnant girls, something other teens will say "aww, no fair" about and maybe even be drawn to. As for the moms, I fear it will encourage them to spend more time away from school, to be pulled into the ranks of the one-third of teen mothers who never end up getting a high school diploma or GED.

Perhaps, instead of putting emphasis on getting these kids more time away from school, we need to push schools to improve their sex education. We need to push schools to be more accommodating for teen mothers overall, not necessarily by giving them extra absences but by providing alternate means to earn a diploma to ensure that these girls do graduate.

What do you think of the teen maternity leave plan?


Image via RaeAllen/Flickr

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amazz... amazzonia

Talking about maternity leave sign the petition to bring a fair maternity leave to the USA and pass the link on!

Amie Acosta

That doesn't sound like a maternity leave to me... Maybe they're just trying to account for those first few weeks and months where appointments and tiny sick little babies drag you away from everything? I dunno. Sounds fishy to me. How about more options for temporary at home schooling while they're on a REAL, FULL maternity leave. I was "forced" to go back after 4 weeks, and had to fight with administrators to accept my medically necessary reason to be given 7-8 weeks instead. I took the extra time, worked with my teachers and had A's and B's when I came back from leave.

Maevelyn Maevelyn

I think that they are just as deserving of time with their baby as anyone else and perhaps more in need of that time than many others. 

nonmember avatar Christie

I think this is to battle the more strict attendence policies which end up causing these girls to fail or quit school. Some school districts fail kids automatically if they miss more then 10 excused days....I thought the whole point of an excused day is that it doesn't count against you, but in some districts that doesn't apply. I think this is a good idea because there are so many teen moms that don't have high school diplomas or GEDs and that can't help them in supporting the baby that they brought into this world. I agree that putting the money and effort into a better home schooling program is the way to go. I can see how this would seem like a benefit to those uneducated kids who think that the time off would actually be worth ending their childhood at 16, but if their parents are actually doing their jobs, the kids, by the time they are teens, will know that bringing another life into this world for an additional week or 10 days out of school is stupid and outrageous. But I guess that's the problem, there are too many people out there that are not truly parenting their children.

nonmember avatar kaerae

Oh yes, let's make it even harder for them to graduate so we can support them through welfare their whole lives, that'll really show 'em, right?

Miche... Michelephant

I think teen pregnancies should fall under an excused medical leave policy.  Kids who have mono or MRSA get a lot of sick leave with their coursework provided for them. Hell, kids at my highschool who were on house arrest (like the kind with a tracking bracelet) got their work delivered to them and teachers who would come in for tutoring. To no cost to the family.  Teen moms should get similar treatment. 

tuffy... tuffymama

Give it to them. Also give them some job training or extra tutoring so they don't end up sucking the system for eighteen years. These aren't animals. Like it or not, they're the future of our nation. They need to be taught to be self sufficient for the coming collapse.

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

I remember a girl in high school who got pregnant and the guy skipped out on her. She planned to be induced on Friday afternoon, gave birth and was back to school on Monday. Given she had an ultra supportive mother who could take care of the baby, this girl didn't look for any kind of handouts or exceptions to the rules. Didn't even ask for it. She just handled her business.

nonmember avatar Dee

I had 12 weeks off school with tutoring but the program wasn't great, they didn't have enough tutors so I failed Geometry that year but passed everything else. Finished high school, got a college degree, now pay LOTS of taxes back into the system so it seems to me it worked for everybody. I did get threatened with being failed senior year due to my absences(son had chronic ear infections) but I raised hell since I had great grades and all my credits. I told them I would sue if they didn't give me my diploma solely based on # of absences. That should never happen, not if you've got the grades. They backed down but I don't know what it's like now. These girls need help, not extra impediments.

Kazoo22 Kazoo22

I think they should have a temporary homeschooling kind of thing, rather than more days off. Still keep them accountable, but let them do it from home with the baby.

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