Not all public schools are equipped to handle teenage pregnancy, although some have special programs to assist pregnant teens finish their education, and even provide daycare. This article discusses alternative schools for pregnant teens such as homeschool, distance learning, and more.
Some public schools, like Sidney Lanier High School, a public high school in San Antonio, Texas, are prepared to deal with student teen pregnancy and parenting requirements. They have, for example, a program to help students find free daycare. But not every public school is prepared for this situation, and when this is the case, it may be time to find an alternative school for a pregnant teen. This article explains some basics.
What Is an Alternative School for Pregnant Teens?
Often an alternative school is thought of as any school that is not a standard college preparatory public or private school. In this case, though, an alternative school would likely be thought of as any school that had adaptations built-in not only to accommodate the needs of a pregnant student body but also to cater to the pregnant teen and specifically address her situation. This being the case, an alternative school for pregnant teens may turn out to be:
- a homeschool
- a distance learning opportunity
- a charter school
- a residential treatment center or program for pregnant teens who face issues besides pregnancy
Examples of Alternative Schools for Pregnant Teens
- Homeschool: Because a homeschool is set up by agreement with the state the student’s family lives in, laws differ, but it may often be possible to set up a homeschool situation for a pregnant teen if this is a desirable and effective way to address the issue of teen pregnancy and education. Check with your state department of education for more information about requirements and for advice about curriculum and other essentials.
- Distance Learning: If there is no one in the home who is equipped to or otherwise able to educate a pregnant teen, home-based education may still take place through a distance learning arrangement. There are a variety of accredited organizations that offer courses of study for teens in a variety of formats. There are correspondence courses, video instruction units, and interactive computer learning modules, as well as opportunities to meet in classes with other students via webinar.
- Charter School: The Polly Fox Academy in Toledo, Ohio is a charter school for pregnant and parenting teens in grades 7 through 12. It is run by the Toledo Public Schools and opened in August, 2003. The school deals with the issues its students face as students, as mothers, as girlfriends, and as sexually active individuals. A nurse and midwife visit the school weekly, and day care is available, as are online courses. Of course, this choice is only useful if there is an appropriate charter school in your area.
- Residential Treatment Center or Program: “The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) lists two programs for pregnant teens in its directory:
- Florence Crittenton Center for Pregnant and Parenting Teens: This small residential program in Helena, Montana accepts girls 12 to 20 and their babies, with only 16 slots available at any time. The program has been in existence since 1900 and accepts only teens who not only are pregnant or parenting but also have another risk factor, including chemical dependency or a mental health diagnosis.
- Youth Care: This coeducational residential treatment center in Draper, Utah accepts children age 12 to 19 (grades 7 to 12) who live in homes in groups of 14 to 16. In this case, pregnancy is only one of the issues that are the focus, and treatment addresses physical and sexual abuse, self-injuring behavior, learning disabilities, mood disorders, substance abuse, running away, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The therapies include specific substance abuse therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and available Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings.
Other schools may accept pregnant teens, but not necessarily with any particular program or supports in place.
Choosing an Alternative School for a Pregnant Teen
In considering any alternative school for a pregnant teen, review not only its accreditation and teacher qualifications, but also its appropriateness for the girl in question and its abilities to address her particular needs. Helping a teen through her teenage pregnancy and education is important to not only her success but her childs as well.