Pause for Reflection
by Peary Perry
Iíve fallen into a quandary and canít get upÖ..Ē
That about sums it up for me this week.
This morning on the way to the office I am listening to a local talk
show and the issue de Ďjure concerns a school district in this country
that wants to provide high school mothers with four weeks of Ďexcused
absencesí when they have a baby and are still in high school.
One of our local residents called in and proudly added her two cents
worth by explaining that her fifteen year old daughter had a baby
back in October. The local school district then gave her six weeks
worth of excused absences along with tutors who came to her home and
made certain she was able to keep up with her class work assignments.
Now, it gets even better than this. After the six week period is over,
then the school sends a bus by her house each morning and picks up
the student and her baby, drives to another location and drops off
the baby in daycare and then takes the student to the high school.
At the end of the day the student is picked up by the bus, taken to
the day care, picks up the baby and then is returned to her home,
safe and sound.
All of this is free of course, paid in full with taxpayer dollars.
Yours and mine dollars, is this something new?
I donít have kids in high school so I canít verify that this is the
case, so I called a couple of teachers that are friends of ours and
lo and behold, guess what? They said that it was and had been the
policy for a number of years. In fact they advised me some of these
kids have a couple of children already before they hit high school.
What is going on here? I realize that the schools are handing out
condoms and such without parentsí permission, but how have we gotten
to this level where we are basically rewarding bad behavior? I did
a down and dirty check of the cost of day care in our area and it
ranges from a low of $750 to a high of $1,000 per month. Where is
Are the parents not paying enough attention to their children or the
children not giving any thoughts about what will happen to them when
they have babies? Babies cost money, lots of money. I know, I raised
and paid for four boys to be brought up and educated. It isnít cheap.
These things donít just go away, someone has to feed them, care for
them and hopefully educate them or they perpetuate the cycle.
On the other hand, should we deny someone an education who wants one,
because they have a child? If we do, then we doom that person to a
life of struggle and hardship by remaining uneducated. My mother was
18 when I was born, that means she became pregnant at 17. She had
to have been in high school. Should we tell any mother that having
a child will cause them to lose whatever chance they have at pulling
themselves out of their situation and hope that education makes them
a more responsible and productive citizen?
How do we extricate ourselves from this predicament? How can we instill
values in our young folks that will keep situations such as this from
happening? I know we live in a different time than when I went to
high school, but do the students of today just rush pell-mell into
sex and children without a moments thought about their future or chances
Iím certain there are rational options for both schools of thought.
But for the life of me, I canít see any possible solution that achieves
both objectives without sacrificing something.
How do we convince our students not to engage in activities that might
bring babies into the world and on the other hand extend a helping
hand to the students who make mistakes? How do we accomplish both
in a rational manner?
Itís a quandary, isnít it?