Hello there! At EyesOpenIowa, we are here to provide resources, training, and support to school personnel to help you improve the culture of support for pregnant and parenting teens. Please contact us if you need any additional resources or if you have any questions.
What is My Role?
As the school nurse, educator, and counselor- you will be the first contact for these young people. Studies show that school personnel are critical to the success of these young people and school based settings seem to improve school retention.
Examples of taking negative messages and making them positive:
It is not uncommon for schools to tell pregnant and parenting teens, “You shouldn’t worry about college, since you won’t graduate.”
This creates a culture of shame that pushes pregnant young women—many of whom are already among the most vulnerable—out of school and away from health and other services.
Instead of saying, “You are on your own- I am not sure how you are going to take care of a baby and stay in school”, say something more like “Let’s make a list people in your support system. Family members, friends and school personnel that can help you continue to succeed in school while parenting.”
Rather than reacting to the news of a frightened student sharing that they are falling behind in school due to morning sickness, try offering to meet with them to discuss resources for instruction to keep the student current with their studies by exploring evening or online instruction for their schoolwork.
What can you DO?
Your relationship is important! There are many steps that an educator can take to assist in the success of PPT students, such as:
Help organize a support group for the teen parents
Encourage expecting students to continue participating in school activities
Advocate for district wide policies that support comprehensive sex education
Display Title IX posters and Student Bill of Rights around your schools
Review the School Absence Policy to ensure it is pregnant and parenting teen friendly.
Make accommodations, such as offering an alternative to regular classroom desks for students who are further along in their pregnancies. There may come a time when sitting in certain styles of desks are no longer an option for a pregnant student. Even a gesture as small as asking the student if they would like to sit at a free standing table and chair can go a long way in building a relationship.
Offering alternative school programs, but also giving the choice of accommodating students that prefer to receive their high school diplomas.