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Pregnant Teenage Girls In Barbados Told not to return back to school. Rate Topic: -----

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  Posted 18 April 2004 - 12:57 PM

Reading the article below taken from the Nationnews.com edition of Sunday April 18, 2004, I cannot understand how a principal can take it upon him/herself to send a pregnant teen home, based on his/her own personal preference. I always thought to send home a pregnant teen, in the Barbados school system, had to be in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, or solely the job of the Ministry of Ed.

I am glad to see that "UNICEF's child protection officer, Heather Stewart, has brought this situation to light, since it needs to be reviewed and changed, and that the Education Act be uphold.

QUOTE
Teen's Rights - Sunday 18, April-2004
By Karin Dear



Heather Stuart: UNICEF's child protection officer


PREGNANT TEENAGE GIRLS in Barbados are being sent home and told not to return to school.

But that is against the law.

At least 30 pregnant teenagers over the past two years may have been “sent home” by school principals who flout the Education Act.

That act calls for compulsory education for all children between the ages of five and 16 years.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Sun, UNICEF’s child protection officer, Heather Stewart, raised a red flag about the number of school principals throughout the Caribbean who were violating the law by disrupting the education of dozens of pregnant teenagers by “sending” them home.

Yesterday, Chief Education Officer Wendy Griffith-Watson confirmed that an undisclosed number of pregnant teenagers had been, and continue to be sent home by principals who disregard the act by making unilateral decisions when they tell a pregnant student to stay home.

UNICEF is concerned that many such students may not return to the classroom after giving birth.

“We have a problem in the Caribbean with the exclusion of teen mothers from education,” said Stewart. “And, while there is no policy against the return of teen mothers to school, we do know that there are individual principals who will refuse to take such a child.”

In Barbados, noted Griffith-Watson, the Ministry of Education is running a programme for about 30 to 35 such teenagers who may either be pregnant or have already given birth in the past year or so, to assist them with coping skills.

Furthermore, continuing education classes provided by qualified teachers are held for pregnant teenagers and new teenage mothers each afternoon at Foundation, St James Secondary and Springer Memorial schools, although there is a cost involved. Why is there a need for a cost to be involved, if the teens choose to return to continue there education?

She also cited a number of reasons that often motivate a principal’s decision to ask a pregnant student to leave school, not the least of which included a history of bad behaviour and attitude.

Other reasons included an inability to get homework done, morning sickness, and difficulty in wearing school uniforms which were not designed for an advanced pregnancy.

“We don’t have maternity school uniforms,” said Griffith-Watson, “and some of these girls do better in continuing education classes where they can wear their own clothes and don’t feel so embarrassed.”


Article provided by www.nationnews.com

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#2 User is offline   Beep_Beep 

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 01:46 PM

I am of a different view,and support the Principals unilateral decision to "ban" pregnant girls from school. A pregnant school girl has lost her right to be treated as an ordinary school child in our mainstream school system,and until we establish an alternative institution in the education sytem to cater specifically for pregnant school girls, they should be sent on maternity leave.
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#3 User is offline   Snoop 

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 02:37 PM

Beep, please!! No! No! No! Shall we compound a bad decision by making another one in ostracizing these girls and robbing them of an education? Lord knows women in Barbados need as much help as they can get. Look, we have all made bad decisions. Some of us would rather not even talk about them, truth be told. Thank God that as adults we don't get banned from life for making fool moves. All of us would be in a mess right now. OK, so they send these girls home because they're pregnant. Yes, if they had kept their legs shut, they wouldn't be, but these things happen...all the time. As stated in the article, that could very well be the end of any further education for that girl. That could lead to feelings of low self worth and...blam! Before you know it, pregnant again. What is wrong with this system? Granted, out of shame, these girls probably don't want to be among their peers anyway. They would probably be hounded, and I can just hear the whizzy, whizzying behind their backs. That would make it hard for the girls. Why can't there be some alternative form of education (FREE OF COST!) where these girls can go and continue their studies? What is this nonsense about uniforms? Let them wear their clothes. Think outside the box people! Ultimately, do we want to help these girls, or play God with a child's future? These kinds of backward attitudes toward situations that are bound to occur need to be challenged, and these principals that flount the law need to brought before the authorities. Would we take the same attitude if one of these girls happened to be our daughter or granddaughter? Two wrongs never make a right.

Another thing...as a parent of a pregnant teen in Barbados, I would be challenging the system mightily at any attempt to deny my child an education.
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#4 User is offline   Beep_Beep 

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 03:44 PM

We speak of disrupting the education of pregnant school girls, but what effect would a pregnant school girl in a class have on other students, especially at a time when they are finalising studies for CXC exams. More than likely the Principals actions, are based on the collective experiences of other Principals. It has been reinforced in this forum time and time again that the children of today, are exposed to better sexual education , moreso than a generation ago. What has gone wrong? Do many of these girls really care about a sound education, before ,during or after pregnancy? And what about the parents ,and the man who put such a girl into this predicament? Shouldn't UNICEF, and the Local authorities be targeting them as well, in the same way as an Official recently suggested that parents should be held accountable for damage to school property by thier children
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#5 User is offline   Snoop 

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:44 PM

QUOTE (Beep_Beep @ Apr 18 2004, 01:44 PM)
We speak of disrupting the education of pregnant school girls, but what effect would a pregnant school girl in a class have on other students, especially at a time when they are finalising studies for CXC exams.

Wait a minute!! You talk about the presence of a pregnant girl disrupting a class? How so? Here in the US, they are in regular school by the hundreds, and they are not responsible for other children failing classes. Oh, I see. The other students will take one look at her big belly and say, teacher, I am totally traumatized by the presence of this pregnant girl and might fail my exams. Please remove her. Puhleeze! Regarding the father/mother, yes, we need to look into those situations also and assign blame where needed, but ultimately, mothers do not send girls to get pregnant. Children can be very creative on their own. Regardless of who we want to target for blame/punishment, the point is, it's the girl's future at stake. Whether she wants an education or not, and yes, there are some who are not interested, she cannot turn around and say that no one tried to help her. If we don't want them mingling with the general school population, at a minimum, make a FREE, alternative education choice available.
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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:54 PM

I feel very strongly about this subject because I saw my very best friend in Barbados having to leave school at 14 or 15 because she was pregnant. The fact that she was pregnant came as a shock to me since girls usually talk about everything, but she never shared the fact that she sexually active with me. It was hard to see her have to leave school...even harder because it put a wedge in our friendship. Whether she was able to return to school I have no idea. It made me feel very sad to see this happen to her.
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#7 User is offline   The Captain 

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 09:15 AM

AND>>>We wonder why the whole society is falling apart.
We wonder why there is a the teenage problem
We wonder why the lack of respect
We wonder why the jails are filled with teenagers who have gone afowl of
the law
We wonder why there are so many children/babies found in garbage bags
and on church steps.
We wonder why teenage mothers don't have the "tools" to teach their
babies the "ropes"

Back in the late-seventies when I ran my own business, I had the opportunity to visit a school in Newark to do some work on a PAsystem. On arrival at this school I was surprised and pleased to see that it was a school for teenage pregnant girls. I said to myself, "dang! WHAT A GREAT IDEA"...... Have I said enough friends?

If a society owes it to young people to get them ready for the world, why should these young girls be deprived of these rights for making a mistake which many of those who imposed these laws of restriction have probably made themselves?

If a young boy impregnates a woman in his teenage years and while in school, would he be banned from said school?
Hmmmmm! got you thinking now..right? huh.gif
enuff said..
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#8 User is offline   Bendedknees 

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 12:34 PM

It is often said that school children are very cruel to each other and I am speaking from experience. There is no way that a girl six months pregnant could be physically and psychologically comfortable in a school in BIM and I would suggest any where for that matter. Although the wish that pregnant girls are not disadvantaged and we would want for them to continue let us all accept that we need to embrace a heavy dose of reality.
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#9 User is offline   The Captain 

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 02:42 PM

QUOTE (Bendedknees @ Apr 19 2004, 04:34 PM)
It is often said that school children are very cruel to each other and I am speaking from experience. There is no way that a girl six months pregnant could be physically and psychologically comfortable in a school in BIM and I would suggest any where for that matter. Although the wish that pregnant girls are not disadvantaged and we would want for them to continue let us all accept that we need to embrace a heavy dose of reality.

During my elementary school days I remember a young girl about 14 yrs old or so who got pregnant. This girl had to stay at home and all she did was look out at he window. When she saw us coming she would close the window, I truly felt for her even back then. The experience which I mentioned above of the school provided for these pregnant girls, demonstrates the school districts obligation to the accessability of an education for these girls. A child has to attend 180 days each of four years to graduate High School in this State. If that child does not graduate because of the lack of the necessary grades and attendance it then becomes a burden on the State, County and City.

Where are the Smart Head in Bim at this time? It's a pity all the fighting is for and over matters which seem trivial, meanwhile the best resource "our people" are getting the short end of the stick.
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#10 User is offline   Beep_Beep 

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 08:05 PM

Its not that we do not wish the best for these unfortunate young girls, but as BK rightly said this is Barbados,and we need to embrace a heavy dose of reality Its ok to sit on the outside and look in, but we on the inside know the mechanics of our people.As a people we have not entirely embraced the concept of compassion and understanding towards those less fortunate that us. We stiil stare and and sometimes jeer, the disabled, the mentallity challenged , obese persons, the aged , etc. Many children dread going to school because they are constantly scoffed at , for something others see as not normal. Child bearing is a burden of its own, without having to go through a long barrage of ridicule, both at school and on the way home. Then there is the physical structure of many school with thier steep and winding stairs,and the unnecessary jostling that goes on every evening to board a school bus.
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Posted 19 April 2004 - 08:28 PM

Ignorant people are found everywhere...Barbados is no exception. Let's not bog down the issue in whether pregnant girls stay in the classroom or not. Provide a place for them where they receive the education to which they are entitled. Think of your daughters, granddaughters or other female relatives who may one day find themselves in a similar predicament.
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#12 User is offline   asharia48 

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  Posted 19 April 2004 - 09:34 PM

I know of a girl that was pregnant from age 13 and she had her child and went back to school, so I would say that sometimes the peer pressure is more than the girls can handle and they might opt to stay at home.

And to add fuel to the fire sometimes it is worth the girls staying at home cause some might just come to school and spend most of the time in the sick bay or be dropping sleep in some classes so u still would not benefit from it. You have to realise that this is putting a strain on the teacher also when she/he have to be going over the same thing for this same child that is constantly missing days in the beginning of they pregancies.

Lets be realistic, let them stay at home and come back when it is over if they can handle it or just continue their education some where else
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#13 User is offline   Beep_Beep 

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 10:21 PM

Ash48, You have hit the nail on the head. Snoop, that seems to be the best solution to this problem, Provide a place ,( institution may not be the appropriate term here,) where these young mothers- to- be may continue thier education in a more conducive environment.
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#14 User is offline   Snoop 

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 10:34 AM

Hmmm...so what's new here? This age group (15-18 years) has always been sexually active in Bim as far as I know. I guess if a girl doesn't want to be pregnant she shouldn't be naked on her back, but how do you span the giant chasm of cultural expectations?

Best On Tuesday - Tackling teenage sex
Published on: 10/30/07.

by ROBERT BEST

Recently there has been heavy focus on teenage pregnancies in our country and there has also been growing concern about the sexual activity of those who do not become pregnant, but who would surely be part of statistics claiming an estimated 85 per cent of children in Barbados between the ages of 15 and 18 were sexually active.

Just days ago headteachers of our schools attended a symposium that paid special attention to a three-year study of Risk Perception And Sexual Practices Among Teenagers In Barbados. Such a gathering preparedto discuss the sexual behaviour of our youths would have been unheard of even a generation ago since open discussion of sexual matters tended to be taboo in our society.

The irony is that though not airing such problems we were not a nation of saints where our libidos were concerned. But times have changed.

Having to deal with HIV/AIDS has forced us to abandon any reluctance to talk openly in our schools, in our churches and even in our lunchrooms, about sex. However, before we came to this , our reluctance to face up to the serious sexual problems in our society did not mean that they did not exist.

We are "shocked" today about teenage pregnancies, but if truth be told, this is nothing new in Barbados. We are now determining matters to do with incest be brought before our courts, whereas we only whispered about such goings on in the village, especially when it was known that men "were living with their daughters".

We forget that the decision to have "an age of consent" was the result of many young girls, below the age of 16, being made pregnant by men at times old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers.

Not only that.

Many had their first sexual experience as children "doing rudeness". Factor in to all this statistics that show the children born out of wedlock in Barbados have always outnumbered those produced by married couples and we have a picture of a society where sex and sexuality definitely have had their impact.

Nowadays, like so many other activities, sex and sexuality have come in for detailed study and so cause and effect command our attention.

However, what still remains puzzling is that today's teenagers, unlike earlier generations, know that babies are not brought by the stork, plus a lot more about how to avoid pregnancies. There are all types of contraceptives available without prescriptions and still we have a problem of teenage pregnancy.

And so we hear the representative for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Tom Olsen, when confronted with "the approximate 15 to 20 per cent teenage pregnancy rate in Barbados", deeming it "just not acceptable".

Olsen claims that the problem in Barbados stems from lack of economic, social and educational resources.

He referred to Grenada and St Kitts where there are UNICEF-backed programmes to assist young, single mothers. There is no such UNICEF programme in Barbados but it is known that teenage mothers are encouraged to continue their education and as noted earlier, sex education is widespread.

The problem we face, however, is not just enabling teenagers to continue their education after they become mothers. The challenge is to show them and encourage them – if we cannot persuade them not to be sexually active – how to practise birth control.

Admittedly, it is not as simple as it might first appear, especially where those teenagers who are sexually active are under the age of 16. For if it is "illegal" for them to consent to sex before they are 16 years of age, it will not be easy to defend giving any teenager under 16 years contraceptives. It could be interpreted as encouraging them to break the law and the law itself has ways of dealing with those who encourage others to break it.
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#15 User is offline   Baby_Diamond 

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 11:54 PM

The problem with the world is that people want to do the crime but nobody wants to do the time. There are consequences and repercussion for our actions and unless we suffer them how will we learn to do better. If we tell our children it is wrong to engage in sexual activity under a particular age but then send them to school with a bunch of fourteen years olds with big bellies, what kind of mix messages are we sending. Who do our children listen to? Us or the system that says it's ok to get knocked up and will afford all the rights and regulations anyway. If a 16 year old boy had sexual relations with a 15 year old girl he can be jailed for statutory rape, so why a girl 14 years old shouldn't be removed from a regular school system for being pregnant. What makes her special? She will have to work twice as hard to achieve what she would achieve without the mistake being made but that's the choice that was made by her for whatever reason. I am not saying give up on them nor am I saying to condone it.



……………………………………………………………………………………………………………...



QUOTE
However, what still remains puzzling is that today's teenagers, unlike earlier generations, know that babies are not brought by the stork, plus a lot more about how to avoid pregnancies. There are all types of contraceptives available without prescriptions and still we have a problem of teenage pregnancy.


Is this only common to teenagers? Look around how many hardback women are walking around pregnant some of them not even knowing who they father of their children are. How many men still have four or five children from four or five different women?



The children are practicing what they are seeing. They are desensitized and they will become more so as time goes on and the baby carriages will be even bigger by next year and the year after etc etc etc... Until we can get our acts together I don't see how the children can.
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#16 User is offline   Baby_Diamond 

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 11:58 PM

QUOTE
This age group (15-18 years) has always been sexually active


I guess different strokes for different folks. In Canada this wouldn’t raise an eyebrow since the age of consent there is 14.
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#17 User is offline   vonDerry 

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:50 AM

And from the Saturday Sun, November 10, 2007 ..Back Page

HIGH AND LOW
QEH figures show teen abortions at highest in four years;births down
TEEN ABORTIONS at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) are at a four-year high,while births by teens are at an all-time low.

Perhaps we need the services of a Rocket Scientist or the usual Bajan Commission of Enquiry to figure this one out.
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