Our Readers' Opinions
August 20, 2004

Teenage Mothers in classroom

Editor: This topic has been the centre of many debates in homes and staff rooms throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines, that is the question of teenage mothers being allowed to return to the classroom.
I want to first commend the Ministry of Education for implementing a policy to allow these students to return. {{more}} This is definitely a step in the right direction since, with the Government’s policy of “every child every chance”, forcing teen mothers to leave school would have denied these young mothers every chance. We would have also been denying their offspring every chance since we would be forcing them to start life with a handicap – an uneducated mother trapped in poverty.
I have often wondered what is the exact crime for which we were forcing these teenagers to pay; is it because they are sexually active? For if that is the reason then our secondary schools would have been seriously under populated. Is it because they became pregnant, that is the sperm was a good swimmer that was able to fertilize the egg? If this again were the reason then a lot more of our teenagers would have been forced to leave school since not all teenage pregnancies result in teenage birth. I could only assume then that we were punishing them because they had sex, became pregnant, and opted not to have an abortion.
The argument is often made that to allow teen mothers to return to school would set a bad example; I ask a bad example to whom? Those who are already sexually active? To those who are accustomed to listening to their sexually active childless teenage friends? Are we as parents so unsure of our parenting skills that we think that a teen mother, tired after sitting up at nights with a baby, having her social life curtailed, coping with a painful breast filled with milk can encourage other children to become sexually active because, after all, they can return to school? To think this is to underestimate the maturity, independence and analytical skills that are possessed by a high percentage of our teenagers. To those who like to stand judgment on these teenage mothers I say let him that is without sin cast the first stone.