FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Some pregnant high school students in Colorado may soon be getting maternity leave.
According to local media reports, the Denver Public School District is putting together guidelines for pregnant students' leaves, which could last for four to six weeks after they give birth. They would be expected to complete their schoolwork from home and keep up in their studies. However, school officials insist it's important to give the new mothers time to bond with their babies.
And, there are a lot of these new teen moms. Statistics show 42 of every 1,000 high school-aged girls are having babies.
The issue of maternity leave came up in Denver after the school district got complaints that some students were told to report to class the day after they got out of the hospital, or else risk getting "unexcused" absences. Experts, including a pediatrician and psychology professor, suggested giving new mothers at least four weeks of maternity leave to recover.
Across the country, other school districts like Seattle and Minneapolis say they have maternity leave policies that focus on individual attention for these students.
And there's a good reason for that: teen mothers often end up dropping out of school. By some accounts, less than a third of them get their high school diplomas and only 1.5% get college degrees before they turn 30.
Of course, critics would say this also raises the issue of whether it's a good idea to give these students any more time off.
Here’s my question to you: Should pregnant high school girls be given maternity leave?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Noel in Minnesota writes:
In my second year of high school, one of my classmates gave birth. Though there was no law requiring it, the school gave her 4 weeks maternity leave and customized her schedule so she could spend part of the day with her child while her mom was at work. In our third year, she was quite open about discussing the issue and even spoke at a class retreat. In our senior year, she was voted class president and graduated top of the class. Sure, she might be an exception to the rule, but at least she had the opportunity.
As a high school teacher, I know absences have a serious impact on student success. Unfortunately, today's pregnant teens, who have already demonstrated some lack of judgment, also lack dedication and tenacity. Instead of viewing their baby as someone who will need a successful parent, they treat it like a toy, showing off ultrasounds and baby gifts. Any time they feel "uncomfortable" they stay home. They have no idea that life will just get harder and no one is teaching them that lesson.
Jack, I am an educational sales consultant and work with our nation’s public and private schools in southeast North Carolina. I took 6 weeks maternity leave by doctor's order. I needed it as the baby needed to eat every 2 hours and it took an hour and a 1/2 to feed him. The better question is: what about paternity leave for the baby's father? I haven't seen that school improvement plan developed by the administration, staff, faculty, parents and students.
Jack, these girls shouldn't even be pregnant! They don't even have jobs to afford to take care of these kids! I'm 21, virgin, with one child: a female dog named Daisy. Girls you want kids? Adopt a dog! It's cheaper!
“A mother” writes:
If businesses can give mothers maternity leave, certainly schools can. These young women need to be given a chance to recover, to bond with their child if they are going to keep the baby, and to succeed in life. In 1972, when I was 17, I was kicked out of high school when I started "to show," but Minnesota state law allowed me to graduate by providing a tutor. I am now a university professor.
Filed under: Social Issues
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.