Why Did 1 In 7 Girls Get Pregnant At Robeson High?
Officials Say A Mix Of Factors Are To Blame, As They Try To Help The Young Women
It is a Chicago public school full of energy and spirit. It has about 800 girls, and 115 of them have something in common – something you might find disturbing.
CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports.
All those young ladies are moms or moms-to-be at Paul Robeson High School. It's not a school for young mothers, it's a neighborhood school. And all of the pregnancies have happened, despite prevention talk.
If you want to know why, the people closest to the situation say there's no simple explanation.
Chicago Public Schools says it does not track the overall number of teen moms in the district. But Robeson Principal Gerald Morrow knows the count at his school in Englewood: 115 young ladies who are either expecting or already have had children.
To put it in perspective, their school pictures would fill roughly six pages of their high school year book.
Why is it happening at Robeson?
"It can be a lot of things that are happening in the home or not happening in the home, if you will," Morrow said. Absentee fathers are another factor, he said.
LaDonna Denson and two other Robeson students say parents not talking to teens and, in some cases, the pursuit of public assistance also factor into the pregnancies. None of them thought they'd be moms at such a young age.
They said they have support at home. But not all girls do, they said. In fact, some girls get thrown out of the home.
Not on Morrow's turf. "We're not looking at them like 'Ooh you made a mistake,'" he said. "We're looking at how we can get them to the next phase, how can we still get them thinking about graduation?"
So there's help in a teen parent program. And coming soon, right across from Robeson, developers are turning a one-time crack house into a day care for student use. "We have to provide some type of environment for them and some form of support for them," Van Vincent, CEO of VLV Development, said.
It's all made an impression.
"Just cause you have a baby, that doesn't mean your life is over," one student said.
One thing they might not know about their principal: His mom had him when she was 15. That's why accepting the problem -- and working through it -- is so important to him