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BlocksApproximately 600 teenagers in Rochester give birth every year, but the City School District does very little to support the students or their children.

The Democrat and Chronicle did an excellent job shining light on this issue in a story reported by Tiffany Lankes:

Leaders of several community agencies say they have reached out to the district in an attempt to offer programs for teen parents and their children, but have had their proposals consistently shot down or ignored.

The end result, early childhood experts say, is a high number of children entering the school system without the preparation they need to be successful, something that could haunt them throughout their school years.


“If that mom ends up dropping out of school, it’s not going to be good for either of them,” said Jean Carroll, president and chief executive officer of the YWCA. “It can very easily, if it’s not already, become a situation of inter-generational poverty.”


National experts say that services such as day care at high schools, specialized transportation and data systems that track the children of teen parents are critical to helping young families succeed, and other districts around the country have found ways to offer those services. The City School District, despite high rates of students having children, does none of that.

The Young Mothers program has the capacity for very few students and the mothers are kicked out when their babies are born. With the importance of early childhood education, the lack of services for this population is stunning.

When I went to Marshall High in the early ’90s, there was an in-school daycare and special transportation for mothers and babies. I don’t know why this was discontinued. Perhaps it was a budget issue. Perhaps people felt the program enabled girls to have babies by making it “look easy.” I vaguely remember a lot of debates around school daycares and the Young Mothers programs; many thought they promoted teen pregnancy.

Years later, schools are now handing out condoms to sexually active students. If we can accept students are having sex despite our best efforts to teach abstinence, maybe it’s time to accept they’re having children. The consequences of not doing so are evident in our high rate of poverty and low achievement in schools.

Links of the Day:

– In Section V, only one in five girls basketball coaches are women.

– I loved this column about finding compassion for the mother who set the fire that killed her five children.

– There are questions and pushback regarding Governor Cuomo’s plan to make it harder for drivers to plead down speeding tickets.

– Syracuse’s Catholic bishop has asked priests to speak out against Governor Cuomo’s abortion bill.

– A competitor was willing to pay the state $100 million more than Maid of the Mist, but wasn’t allowed to bid.

This might be a more affordable way to own lakefront property.

Downtown Buffalo is experiencing a building boom.

9 Responses to Ignoring Teen Moms

  1. My thoughts…..there were a number of people quoted in this article as saying ” something should be done”. Who actually should be doing what? Maybe instead of complaining that something should be done, they should do it. Schools are there to teach. Where are the parents of these girls? What about the number of government and private agencies? Between these two, families and social agencies, these issues should be covered. Why should the schools be expected to provide the same services? I will also state the obvious but which we all know the answer….why isn’t the father providing financial support for their children? I do believe in tough-love. There are consequences for your actions. NY welfare will provide free housing and support for those that make poor choices. As long as that process continues, there will always be people who know the system and use it. I will ask, what was the point of the article from the D&C? This is news? It has been like this for decades.

  2. NYC ended the practice of a young mother’s program a few years ago when the programs were thought to be discrimatory and not helpful. This doesn’t mean that programs shouldn’t be practiced in their home schools. The women should be allowed home/hospital tutoring for at least 3 months, the minimum age day care allows kids in. Women and children don’t all come out perfectly after childbirth so their needs to be accommodation for that. Yes there used to be day care centers in all the high schools in the 90s, I’m shocked there still aren’t. Pregnant girls need to be taught good nutrition also. They often try to continue to eat as before and don’t know how to eat healthy for a child. There is also a problem in that once people turn 18 whether they are in school or not, they are taken off their parent’s welfare case and people so young often find the system too confusing to apply on their own.

  3. Re: Mr. Ramos’ essay,
    Compassion for that murdering scumbag ‘mother’? How about compassion for the firefighters who were burned horrifically trying to get those kids out. Who may have nightmares forever about how they were just that close to them as they cooked alive. Who had to pull those bodies out after letting them bake.
    Holy hell, we need compassion? We need rage. How many kids have died needlessly in fires since we had our 2 year streak of zero fatalities back when Madison was the fire chief? A hell of a lot more than have been gunned down. Bay St., 2nd St., Goodman St., Grape St., and we need compassion? All of those were the result of piss poor decisions made by adults. She needs to be charged with the attempted murder of firefighters via willful negligence and locked away for life. Compassion…… you gotta be kidding me. But I’m not surprised as people think the mom involved in Sandy Hook bears no responsibility, Hillary shouldn’t accept full responsibility for her department’s decisions about Libya, none of our elected officials should ever be accountable for anything and according to this main story schools should somehow assume the responsibility of raising kids who obviously are all born via immaculate conception.

  4. January 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    in the late 80’s up to 1995 the RCSD had a very succsesful early childhood program where the girls would bring their infants to school with them and learn how to be a parent. it was one of the best programs i ever saw.

    Clifford Janey got rid of it because a certain faction at C.O. didn’t like the idea of what they considered free daycare for irresponsible teenage girls, and that is the way it has stayed. It’s a shame it was one of the best programs i ever saw.

  5. I’m wondering if all of these agencies approaching the school district with ideas are coming with funding in place or are they expecting the district to fund as the agency “administers” the program.

    As a RCSD teacher, I’d love to see outside agencies bring all sorts of FUNDED program proposals to help our students. IMHO the only thing the district should have to provide is building space and perhaps scheduling accommodations for the students involved.

    Perhaps letting the district focus on educating and less on providing every social and medical service imaginable for 30,000 students might yield better academic results for which we are constantly bashed.

  6. January 28, 2013 at 10:17 am CoolGrrl28 responds:

    Are these young parents being encouraged to adopt out these babies? Children should not be raising children.

    • Are these young parents being encouraged to adopt out these babies? Children should not be raising children

      And lose the funding (money) an additional child provides the mother via public assistance food stamps etc?
      Ain’t going to happen. Who would do that?

      In some cases that is the reason they got pregnant to have the baby.

      Until there are no “incentives” offered AT ALL, to have a baby by the ‘do gooders” in government, then poor young girls will continue to make babies. And they are encouraged to do so by their peers who did the same thing.

  7. Are these young parents being encouraged to adopt out these babies? Children should not be raising children.

    That is an absolutely disgusting thing to say. Unless there is abuse or neglect, children belong with their parents. Just because she is young does not mean a girl is not entitled to her child just like any other mother. And just what the hell does an affluent white guy from the suburbs know about low-income teen mothers of color, anyway?

    Many poor women feel that children are the only contribution they can make. They often don’t experience the major life events available to more affluent women like graduations, promotions, buying a house, and even marriage. They have few sources of pride and fulfillment. Having a child makes her feel that she is doing something important and provides meaning to an otherwise difficult life.

    Sorry to burst Ye Olde Reagan fantasy of trashy black welfare queens just popping out babies just to leach off the government. That you think you’re more entitled to her child than she is when you have nothing but contempt for her speaks volumes.

    The best way to combat teen pregnancy is comprehensive sex education, access to contraception, and improving opportunities for young people so they make better choices. Girls should fully informed of all their options: adoption, abortion, or keeping the child. Teen mothers are also entitled to an education, just like any other minor. With an education, they have more opportunities and stand a better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.

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