Chicago High School Reports 115 Pregnant and New Mothers Out of 800 Students

logoThis is an amazing and depressing statistic. There are 800 girls at Chicago’s Paul Robeson High School. Out of 800 girls, 115 are now pregnant or recently had children.

Robeson Principal Gerald Morrow responds with perhaps the most unassailable observation: “It can be a lot of things that are happening in the home or not happening in the home, if you will.” Hard to argue with that.

For the full story, click here.

44 thoughts on “Chicago High School Reports 115 Pregnant and New Mothers Out of 800 Students”

  1. elaine writes: ven if a school does provide condoms, it doesn’t necessarily follow that all students will request them from the nurse or use them if they have them.

    Here are some excerpts from the article that Professor Turley linked to:

    “And all of the pregnancies have happened, despite prevention talk.”

    “If you want to know why, the people closest to the situation say there’s no simple explanation.”

    “LaDonna Denson and two other Robeson students say parents not talking to teens and, in some cases, the pursuit of public assistance also factor into the pregnancies.”

    The people closest to this issue beieve there are a number of reasons why so many girls at this high school got pregnant.

    Were condoms available upon request from the school nurse? The article didn’t say.

    these are all good points but what we dont know is how comprehensive prevention education was. was it a 5 minute talk or a semester long class?
    prevention education is but one piece of health and human development education. what we don’t know are the home factors. were the boys refusing to wear condoms? this may be a cultural thing.
    how sexually explicit were you at 15? 16? could you ask for certain things? tell your partner what made you fee good? could you insist he wear a condom? or was it more important to have a boyfriend at any cost?

    one thing we do know from listening to teens talk about why they chose to get pregnant, and many do choose it, is that they want someone to love who will love them. kids from inner cities who come from bad family situations often cite this as a reason why they get pregnant on purpose.

  2. GWLawSchoolMom & Mike S.–

    Even if a school does provide condoms, it doesn’t necessarily follow that all students will request them from the nurse or use them if they have them.

    Here are some excerpts from the article that Professor Turley linked to:

    “And all of the pregnancies have happened, despite prevention talk.”

    “If you want to know why, the people closest to the situation say there’s no simple explanation.”

    “LaDonna Denson and two other Robeson students say parents not talking to teens and, in some cases, the pursuit of public assistance also factor into the pregnancies.”

    The people closest to this issue beieve there are a number of reasons why so many girls at this high school got pregnant.

    Were condoms available upon request from the school nurse? The article didn’t say.

  3. Mike S writes: Jill,
    These two statements, which are the essence of your post, wonderfully sum up my own beliefs. The turning point for me with the “Feminist Movement” was when MS. magazine did an article in the 70’s of how women could achieve success in the corporate world by acting more like men and why that was they way to go. That mindset took feminism away from its’ humanistic roots, which you referred to in the first quote above and indeed make it into a “jobs program for the upper class.” The other sad misdirection was radical feminists like T. Grace Atkinson, who literally not only hated men, but deemed all pornography rape. These were the “academicians” you referred to, who rather than exploring the subject objectively, used academic language to clothe their own pet peeves and stifle disagreement in the process.

    I’m a 3rd generation feminist and it really is not all that complicated. magazines do not speak for the women’s movement, they provide entertainment for a readership.
    feminism is about equality in the workplace, the home, the public. it is about women deciding to take on whatever challenges that turn them on and getting paid what men get paid for that work.
    it is about women having access to credit, private banking; about married women holding property in their name separate from their spouse.
    it is about respect.

    how womens’s studies classes are held has something to do with this but in the real world it has as much to do with feminism as psychology classes have to do with everyday people making good choices or living their lives as actualized individuals.

  4. shire writes: GWLawSchoolMom: Wait, back up. This isn’t some Christian private school in the Bible Belt. This is a public school in the middle of urban CHICAGO. Say what you will about abstinence education, but I seriously doubt that such a Democratic stronghold isn’t giving these kids a full explanation of how things work Down There, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the school nurse provided condoms on request. Something else has to be the problem.

    did you read the response from Mike S?
    public schools get federal money that is tied to curriculum.
    all kids need to know how their bodies work from basic health and first aid to contraception and sexual transmitted disease.
    when parents abdicated their responsibility to teach their kids what “happens down there” as you so eloquently refer to genitalia, they made the schools responsible for what is usually called Health and Human Development curricula. Of course parents who think that god is in charge of such things neither teach their children themselves or allow their kids to participate in these classes.
    perhaps this is out their embarrassment. maybe it is because they think that scaring their kids with hellfire will keep them from touching themselves and others.
    it would be nice if the school nurse did provide condoms, but many schools forbid this.

  5. “Say what you will about abstinence education, but I seriously doubt that such a Democratic stronghold isn’t giving these kids a full explanation of how things work Down There, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the school nurse provided condoms on request.”

    ShireNomad,
    Unless you have information that can back that up, I seriously doubt the truth of that statement. We went through 8 years of the Bush administration pushing “Abstinence Education” and opposing real sex education classes. The copious federal money that flowed to schools all over the country had tight strings attached and not supplying condoms would be one of them, whether in Chicago, or Podunk.

  6. “Feminists used to speak the truth about birth control, abortion, about the real strengths that come from knowing who you are and what you value.”

    “With the introduction of post modernism, feminism became jargon which required a PHD to understand. The emphasis on women’s actual lives simply disappeared. “Feminism” seems to be little more than a jobs program for the upper class.”

    Jill,
    These two statements, which are the essence of your post, wonderfully sum up my own beliefs. The turning point for me with the “Feminist Movement” was when MS. magazine did an article in the 70’s of how women could achieve success in the corporate world by acting more like men and why that was they way to go. That mindset took feminism away from its’ humanistic roots, which you referred to in the first quote above and indeed make it into a “jobs program for the upper class.” The other sad misdirection was radical feminists like T. Grace Atkinson, who literally not only hated men, but deemed all pornography rape. These were the “academicians” you referred to, who rather than exploring the subject objectively, used academic language to clothe their own pet peeves and stifle disagreement in the process.

    The original intent of feminism was to raise women’s consciousness about themselves, how they were being marginalized by society and how they could deal with it. I was attracted to it as a male because the the flip side of female oppression, was the oppresive nature that repressing women put on men’s shoulders, the need to be both protector, breadwinner and patriarch, prevented the two sexes from living equally and harmoniously.

  7. GWLawSchoolMom: Wait, back up. This isn’t some Christian private school in the Bible Belt. This is a public school in the middle of urban CHICAGO. Say what you will about abstinence education, but I seriously doubt that such a Democratic stronghold isn’t giving these kids a full explanation of how things work Down There, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the school nurse provided condoms on request. Something else has to be the problem.

  8. AY–

    “I like to think that today I possess wisdom regardless of the smarts or education.

    “My grand father was low on the education chain but by all accounts he died a very wealthy man. I too should be so lucky.”

    ***************

    We have lots of well-educated individuals in our country–the “smartest guys in the room” who helped to blow multi-billion-dollar holes in our economic system. Of course, they made lots of money for themselves. I guess some folks would consider that “smart.”

    Your wisdom probably issues from a combination of intelligence and experience–and may also be due, in part, to your education.

    While it’s still possible, I do think it’s more difficult today to succeed in life without–at the very least–a high school education.

  9. clearly abstinence programs don’t work. they just dont.
    kids will have sex for the same reasons adults do: it feels good.
    they should at least be educated in how to avoid conception and be given, free of charge, the birth control method of their choice.

  10. Thanks Mike S.,

    There’s one other thing that really bothers me and that is what feminism has become. Feminists used to speak the truth about birth control, abortion, about the real strengths that come from knowing who you are and what you value. People who really know themselves well, who are strong inside, are the most caring people, whether as parents or in any other aspect of life. You are correct to say that our society hinders this kind of radical strength, so that is isn’t ordinary as it should/could be, but rather it is extraordinary.

    The right wing has played it’s part, but so has academic feminism. With the introduction of post modernism, feminism became jargon which required a PHD to understand. The emphasis on women’s actual lives simply disappeared. “Feminism” seems to be little more than a jobs program for the upper class. I have watched this with anger. Feminism should be forthright, plain spoken and on the side of women and men who want the best for each other. Without this real concern for women, without the plain spoken information and insistence on the worth of all people, feminism no longer counters right wing hatred of both men and women. The sooner post modern “feminism” goes out of style, the better!!!

  11. Mike,

    Growing up my father raised me to believe that sex is an act of love and that having sex with multiple partners is extremely irresponsible. He believed that that was the worst form of disrespect towards women. My father happens to be pro choice, but it is because of this belief that being promiscuous is irresponsible that I myself am pro life. I believe in taking responsibility for your actions, whether you are a man or a woman. I also believe that the punishment for not paying child support should be much more harsh.

  12. rafflaw,

    I understand from a personal level, what you state.

    I am unsure if I was a hard seller, hard sale or hard headed but I did like to do it my way, long before I knew about the song.

  13. Elaine M.,

    I like to think that today I possess wisdom regardless of the smarts or education.

    My grand father was low on the education chain but by all accounts he died a very wealthy man. I too should be so lucky.

  14. Jill,
    Great comments which I totally agree with and feel need to be related over and over again. I think it is part of the pattern of being overly invested in and wanting to punish women’s sexuality,
    freedom and self awareness.

  15. “When my father was 19 when I became his first child. Because my grandmother had been such a good role model to my father, all by herself, he took full responsibility for the situation that he had created for himself. My biological mother left my father after they had their second child, my dad was 22. He raised me and my brother all by himself and did a very good job.”

    Chris,
    You were very lucky to have a father who was such a good man and I think probably an extraordinary one. He had a mother who was an extraordinary woman. I agree with you that parental responsibility is among the most important factors. To me the problem is that our system and our shared mythology sets things up so that mostly extraordinary people are the only ones who can break out of the mold. The average person is so filled with lack of hope and despair that they give up.

  16. AY,
    I also had a catholic grade school education and then I went to a public high school. That being said, both schools were good and Skokie, IL in the 60’s was a safe place. I grew up in a one parent family, but my mother stressed to all of five of us that an education and hard work was the norm. Of course, I was the toughest sell!

  17. “I can agree with some of what you say, but to put part of the blame on womens lib and Roe V. Wade is misguided.”

    Raff,
    You misread me. Roe v. Wade was a great decision and I’ve been in favor of women’s equality all my life. Neither the court case, not the movement were wrong. As I wrote reflecting the over reaction of these unthinking fools:

    “To these cretins, the foundation of that sexual revolution were females who had discovered they liked to have sex and had a right to follow their urges. Tied in with this was the demand by women that they enjoy equal status with men, rather than subservience. This is very frightening to those of a particular mindset and is seen in almost apocalyptic terms.”

    Abortion has been used as an issue that has fueled these people, because they could develop the false meme of innocent babes being murdered. That is their problem, not the problem of people who are rightly pro-choice. Since the anti-abortion people are unafraid to be liars, or hypocrites they used this issue to mobilized the many who are threatened by women’s sexuality.

    “How do you reconcile the higher teen birth rates in many of the Southern states where the religious pressure to abstain from Sex may be the greatest?”

    Easy answer. first the abstension programs intentionally portray birth control itself as ineffective or harmful. So the kids, who like all teens are so juiced on hormones wind up having sex, but don’t use protection which they’ve been taught doesn’t work. Secondly, these backwards areas have the greatest belief that the only real sex is intercourse, so the boys feel pressures to lose their virginity in “the right way.”

  18. As mentioned by CEJ and rafflaw–these appear to be virgin births! Mike S. as well, speaks out strongly on the role of boys and men in pregnacy. The fact that the numbers are all about girls and we learn nothing about boys is absolutely significant. I will add two other observations to those above which I think should be factored in as well. Have you noticed that having babies is chic right now? All the celebrities are having/buying babies. This culture worships celebrity. I think these kids are tring to be like our cultural role models.

    I have noticed the extreme ignorance of women aged 30 and under concerning their own sexuality. I don’t simply mean the plumbling, but the knowing that one has the right to say yes or say not. That one’s body belongs to your self–not a man, not to god–but to the woman and the girl. I also hear many girls say they want to have a baby so someone will love them. Of course this is exactly backwards, but it bespeaks a lack of love in their life that is so profound I can hardly bear it. We are failing our girls and our boys.

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