Friday, January 11, 2008

They can have maternity leave if they take a sex ed class and parenting classes

Some knocked up teens in Colorado want to have a four-week maternity leave. Supporters claim that the mothers need time to heal and bond with their spawn.

Here's my thing: I agree that they should get time off on a case-by-case basis as all other students should be afforded such a review based on medical conditions. I don't think it should be automatic. I think that sets a bad precedent and doesn't show that having a kid is not easy. I agree that the mothers need time to physically heal and rest prior to returning to school, and I agree (to a lesser extent, but still agree) that they need time to bond with their kids, but I don't think it should be free time off. I think student mothers should be required to complete some required reading and assignments in that time on the basic subjects they are studying. I also think they should be required to attend a parenting class--not daily, but maybe weekly or so.

I also think that the school systems should coordinate and provide low- or no-cost childcare for these girls while in school. In order to qualify, student mothers should be required to have passed the parenting class and maintain a certain attendance record and a certain grade point average.

I'm sorry, but if you get knocked up you don't get a free pass for no school for four weeks with no repercussions. You don't get a free pass if you have any other medical condition, you shouldn't get one if you are knocked up.

More importantly, this discussion and debate should remind us that kids need effective sexual education starting at a young age which includes the teaching of birth control, sexual health and mental preparedness.

And as much as I hate to be blunt about this--but I think we need to realize what abortion is around for. I know it's an option, but that option should be made available to these girls and it should be discussed before the situation gets out of hand. It should be taught as a part of sexual education in a way that supports women's choices. I wonder how many of these girls are less than enthused about keeping their kids, but in this culture are convinced it's the only way out.

Also, have we not learned our lesson about adoption yet? Perhaps these girls would be better off (as would the children) if they gave them up for adoption. There are thousands of would-be-parents out there who can't have children who would love to adopt one of their own.

This is just so frustrating because it was all preventable. And we need to start having a frank conversation about this or it's only going to get worse.

Another reason that abstinence-only education is for bitches.



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