Shocking school administrators and others community members, fully 13 percent of the female students at an Ohio high school currently are pregnant.
According to a report in the Canton Repository, 65 girls of the 490 females at Timken High School are with child – a number confirmed by Principal Kim Redmond.
“This has gotten to horrible proportions,” said Redmond. “I wish I knew the answer to why it’s happening.”
Repository columnist Rick Senften mentions the potential suspects of movies, TV and video games, lazy parents and lax discipline.
Local health statistics paint a similar picture.
According to the Canton Health Department, through July, 104 of 586 babies born to Canton residents in the county’s two largest hospitals had mothers between 11 and 19, the local paper reported.
The rate of teen pregnancy in other areas of Stark County, Ohio, is considerably less – with just 7 percent of births to children compared to 18 percent in Canton.
Wrote Senften: “McKinley High’s numbers aren’t rosy, either, and its culture is just as ripe for trouble. I recall a day there last spring, while waiting for an English class to let out, that a roomful of kids lauded a boy, no more than 16 or 17, for having become a ‘dad’ the night before. A paper on the kid’s desk suggested he might struggle to spell that word.”
The extraordinarily high pregnancy rate plays into the academic troubles at Timken High as child-mothers often drop out of school or fall behind due to child-rearing duties.
“One clear sign of the problem shows up in such measurements as the state’s Academic Watch designation, which the Canton City School District has been unable to shake,” writes Senften. “Low grades, low attendance, low graduation ? these are aggravated by a growing population of people who can’t afford to pay to improve the educational environment.”
Said Redmond: “Once again, the schools can’t do it all. Once again, we’re being asked to.”
The principal says her school will initiate a three-pronged program addressing pregnancy, prevention and parenting this year.
While 10 percent of women in the U.S. age 15-19 become pregnant each year, most of those are among 18 and 19 year olds.