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Pregnant Teens Expected to Return to Class

Maternity Leave For Teens?

Most women can't imagine returning to work the day after they are released from the hospital with their new bundle of joy, though some do. A recent article in The Denver Post questioned the current practice of their local East High School that penalizes teen moms who don't make it back to class after birthing. It said:

"Two counselors from East High School approached the school board last month, saying the policy at their school is unfair and inconsiderate because it forces new moms to return to school the day after being discharged from the hospital or face being charged with unexcused absences."

To finish the story,

Senior Kayla Lewis who is five months pregnant is asking that four weeks maternity leave be granted to pregnant students. The time will give their bodies a chance to heal and provide an opportunity to bond with their babies.

Join The Conversation
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Sunkist, let me get this straight...you are still in high school...and you TRIED to get pregnant?
pasch011 pasch011 9 years
I would like to comment on the need for teens to have maternity leave after giving birth. I am for this, and I can tell you from experience that it is necessary. I work as a Pregnancy Related Services Teacher in Texas, and I home school students for 6 weeks after they give birth. This has cut down tremendously on the number of students who simply drop out of school, and it has also created an incredible bond between the mothers and their babies. The consequences of their choices are seen in everything that they do, from no sleep on some nights, to no social life, changes in their bodies, financial hardship and more. They are forced to look in the face of their choices constantly. So, for these young mothers to be forced to return to school immediately after giving birth or face truancy charges, is one of the most abusive ways to demonstrate consequences, that I have ever heard of. These young women need time to heal, and their babies need them at home during this crucial time of their lives, in which they need to form a secure attachment with their mothers. So, please consider this, and know that, not only do both mothers and babies benefit, but so does our society, because I know what good the maternity leave can do. I have seen my young moms become graduates who go on to college, honor roll students, student council participants, and more! I am proud of their willingness to face their consequences head on, and am glad that we already have this program in place.
sunkistmommie22 sunkistmommie22 9 years
i guess i have a little personal experience with this. i'm due may 28th, which is at the end of the school year, but i will have to leave school earlier than my due date and will not be able to return. I know, at least at my school, that there are MANY ways so you dont stay back, or miss valueable time. (1)online classes, thanks to technology. (2)you can get your class work ahead of time and finish it before you leave, or while you are at home. (3)summer classes. (4)tutoring. (etc.) there is a way around everything. how long does it take a twenty/thirty/forty-something year old to recoperate???? WHY is it DIFFERENT when there is a -teen at the end of a number?? well it isn't different. if anything its longer because there is often other complications since the body is not as mature and is often smaller, such as; prematurity or c-sections. and WHY is it an irrisponsible act, to be pregnant when you are a teenager? -- I want(ed) to be a Mother, i tried to become a Mother with my boyrfriend of two and a half years, and i am. it was no mistake it was my disicion just like it is for a married twenty-nine year old. and thank you to blackjade for the comment, i wish other people viewed it like you do.
SweetnLow SweetnLow 9 years
I suppose this situation, though seemingly illegal to me, is still better than the days of being forced into an alternative school before you started showing. At least here you have some semblance of normalcy by continuing to have the support of people you already know.
simplystella simplystella 9 years
Pretty much looks like a sort of punishment to me. Even though I think that it would be wiser for a teenager to interrupt a pregnancy that is certainly going to be emotionally and physically hard (not to mention that it's definitely tough to grow up a kid when *you* are a kid, too), I guess that the community (school included) should support teenagers during and after their pregnancy, if they decide to bring it on.
DulceSkye DulceSkye 9 years
BlackJade, I was a teen Mom, so thank you for your post. I was a straight A Honors student who was accepted early into NYU. It really hurt how people's perception of me and my character changed when I got pregnant. Anyway, I think a student should return to school when they are physically able to. I think four weeks is a little much, though. I remember being back on my feet after a week with my first child. I was seventeen. High school may not be part time but students are on a fixed four year schedule. Losing a month out of school can really hurt a student, especially if they intend to go to college.
blackjade blackjade 9 years
Wow, so there are a lot of people who apparently belive that 16, 17, 18 year old mothers are of less value than the 20-something and older set. Why do we assume all high school aged mothers are ignorant and irresponsible? Does any one remember what it was like to be a teenager? No birth control method is 100% So a girl who get pregnant and choses to continue the pregnancy (either to raise as her own or to give it up for adoption). After going through what may or may not have been a difficult labor she's forced to go back into the classroom the next day - even if it's against the doctor's orders, did she have an emergency C-section, has she even gotten any sleep in the last 72 hours? That's not something you do to "teach them a lesson." There should be options -continuation school, online classwork for a few weeks, or yes, maybe they'll have to be set back a grade. Parenting classes should also be manditory for those keeping their baby. Sorry so long, but it's just a shame that teenage mothers are seen as irresponsible, annoyances who deserve no further choices or opportunities. (and no, I'm not speaking from personal experience. I'm 29, married and pregnant for the first time)
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
That's horrible and I don't agree with it either.
PrincessTracy PrincessTracy 9 years
Yaahhh!!!! Let's all get pregnant on purpose so we can have a vacation!!! WOOHOO!!!! This girl is crazy....clearly showing her immaturity and knowledge.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
well in california if a child has a medical condition that prevents them from going to school for an extended period of time (i believe 3 weeks) the district is required by law to provide a tutor at their home. i don't think a girl with a baby should go back to typical high school, but should go to an alternative school. if the school was set up to accomodate the mother and the baby (day care, breast feeding area, job counseling , etc.,) it would be more about what the life of the mother and her baby will be about. prom and class election shouldn't really be the focus anymore, you know.
amers230 amers230 9 years
i think it's ridiculous that some schools require girls to return to school the day after they're discharged from the hospital. i'm with greggie and the others, having a baby is a medical condition from which girls/women need to heal. i think four - six weeks is more than fair, although i don't see a problem with the girls being required to complete a reasonable amount of schoolwork at home during that time. i think it really just comes down to dealing with the situation in order to get the best possible results. instead of making teenage moms return to their old "normal" schedule right away, why not give them some flexibility? every school district's goal should be to graduate all of their students. if giving new moms time off from school allows them to complete their hs education and go further, why not? life isn't black and white, not everyone fits into the standard hs student mold.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I'd also like to reiterate that I don't see it as a "baby/Mommy rights" issue. I would have the same opinion regardless of medical reason. I am strongly pro-life, but if a student had an abortion and a doctor recommended she not return to school the next day, I would fight for the same situation - a home study program that allowed her to keep up, and the absences being considered excused by medical reason. Heck, I'd feel the same way if it was a student having a nose job who needed a recovery period. Schools that don't allow for any medical/home-study leaves are hindering education, in my opinion. And all of those should center on that home study being completed. Not even giving the student a chance to keep up from home and requiring them to repeat the grade/class makes me sad, regardless of if that student has just become a parent or if they've been in an accident.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Your example of the seizures is why I said if they make exceptions for other medical conditions, they should do it for maternity leave. If they don't, then maternity leave shouldn't be special. The article does not say if what their other medical policies are, which is why I asked in my first reply. And yes, I agree that every heals differently. The article also doesn't say it asks for 4 weeks for every student, absolutely. It seems to ask for a maximum of 4 weeks, based on recommendation. Not as an absolute given, regardless of circumstances. If a student wants to come back the next week, that's great, they shouldn't be forced to stay home for 4 weeks. Just have it be an option if medically indicated.
lms lms 9 years
Greggie, I respect your opinion but I just don't see it as a medical issue in the same way that you do. From your previous comments I know how strongly you feel about babies and mothers rights etc. I know you are a Mommy and have one on the way...I am also a mommy. In my personal experience I was back to "normal" four days after delivery(2 days after going home). I don't expect them to go back to school as soon as they leave the hospital, but I don't think they should be given special treatment. I also understand that everyone heals at a different rate. I just have a hard time comparing it to a medical issue that is out of someone's control. I also know that the Family Leave Act is different from what they are asking for. I am aware that it allows 12 weeks of leave. You know, there was a boy in my daughter's class that missed a ton of school b/c he was sick with seizures etc. He had to repeat the grade. I just can't justify his absence as unexcused if girls can get long periods of excused absences for pregnancy/baby. As we all know, that month will not be the only time missed from school...there will be doctors appts, sick days, etc.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I think the home study should be required - if they can't do it, then they lose the school time, or have to make it up. I don't think it's at all a given that they won't study at home. But like any student on a medical leave with a home study, they either do it or don't get credit.
foxie foxie 9 years
They should have to make up for time lost to maternity leave during summer break. If they can't go to school, they're not going to be studying at home either... and I definitely don't think that these girls can afford to just throw away a month of school.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Sorry, I spelled absence wrong.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
"A job is not equivalent to schooling, so the normal maternity leave that working women are rightfully entitled to does not apply to school IMO." They're not asking for the same as working women - working women are entitled to the Family Leave Act, which is twelve weeks. They're asking for the medical leave recommended by doctors. For instance, if a teen had to have their tonsils removed, they'd be entitled to the medical leave recommended by their doctor, not required to return to school the day after they're released. Or if they had any other surgery/medical process. I don't think this has anything to do with whether teen pregnancy is shocking or commonplace, it's a medical issue. I don't think it trivializes other medical issues to state that. Forcing a normal schedule over a recovery is simply cruel regardless of the circumstances, in my opinion. The fact that a school would consider a doctor-excused absense to be "unexcused" is shocking to me, not to mention discrimination if they allow it for other medical issues. I personally wouldn't consider high school remotely "part time" either. Here it's 6 1/2 hours of instruction time and a minimum of an hour homework. That's full time.
lms lms 9 years
In this case consequences = unexecused absences that may lead to not completing the grade and delaying or ruling out graduating. All of this can lead to lower future income which will likely make for a stressful existence. Obviously there are physical consequences, but some girls don't think very far ahead. I can see a bunch of girls that would abuse the maternity leave. They would say it doesn't matter if I miss a month of school(at a minimum) it will all be okay. I will still move on to the next grade. Someone commented in another post today that half her senior class were pregnant and a lot of the junior's and freshman. That is just totally shocking to me. I am curious to know where her school was. I am long out of high school, but I remember when someone was pregnant it was a big deal. Now it is commonplace. That is kind of sad to me.
ellipsery ellipsery 9 years
Continuing on with a pregnancy is a choice (Well, having sex without protection in the first place is a choice), so I don't think that high school students who have just had a baby should be given a minimum of four weeks -- that should be the maximum, but I still think it's too high even for that. I had a few friends in high school who had babies, and I think it's important that they should get maybe two weeks off. It's just not right to compare having a medical illness to having a baby in a high school setting, though. My brother nearly died and missed a lot of school, and there was no way that he could have prevented that illness from nearly killing him; however, pregnancy can be prevented and (I know it's taboo, but I'm throwing it out there) terminated. Comparing pregnancy to illnesses that require medical absences really trivializes the latter.
ylatan ylatan 9 years
consequences? i am pretty sure they are getting consequences. morning sickness, stretch marks, the pain of labor and birth, not to mention now having to provide for another person. meh. it's also not really up to the state or schools to decide on someone's consequences. i think 4 weeks is a good minimum, so that the mamas can recover, bond with babies, establish good breastfeeding, etc. an online course or emailing the work to them is not too much to ask, IMO.
lms lms 9 years
Alot of people may not agree with me on this, but I don't think it is such a great idea. When I was in college some of the pregnant women went right back to classes within a few days. I think giving teens maternity leave from school encourages them to continue with their normal "patterns". If they had real consequences to their actions so many kids would not be having babies. A job is not equivalent to schooling, so the normal maternity leave that working women are rightfully entitled to does not apply to school IMO. Pregnancy is not an illness, it is a "choice" by a lot of young girls by not practicing abstinence or using the proper protection. When some people miss a lot of school b/c of excessive illness they have to repeat the grade. Why should pregnant teens be any different?
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Four weeks seems a little excessive when high school is best classified as part time. But, NO time is ridiculous. They really should try to work something out with young mothers. At least it's better than what my school did, which was to summarily expel anyone who was pregnant.
BlairBear BlairBear 9 years
I had maternity leave after giving birth. My school offered six weeks of maternity leave to girls. This is absolutely ridiculous! I could barely get out of bed, let alone try to go back to school! Greggie, I agree with you, this would only cause problems. Sundrops, I'm sorry but watching someone suffer by having to go back to school immediately after giving birth, would only cause problems, it wouldn't deter other girls at all.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Interfering with medical recovery and baby bonding would be awesome? I'd venture a guess they'd be more likely to finish school if given the time to recuperate and adjust, as well as a home study program that allowed them to keep up with schoolwork. Requiring a return to school and pressure is likely to hinder progress and increase drop-out rates. It's entirely possible to view how difficult being a mom is a month after giving birth.
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