When a teen becomes pregnant, education goals may become secondary and ways of achieving those goals may grow less clear. This article on teen pregnancy and education summarizes the alternatives available.
Primary Concerns in Educating a Pregnant Teen
Private schools, because they are private, may make different rules, and if a teen who attends private school becomes pregnant, the school should be consulted about their policies. However, a teen who is pregnant continues to have a right to a free public education, and continuing on in her current public school, or transferring back to a public school if you has been attending a private school and can do so no longer, is a possible option. But when a teen becomes pregnant, her health and the health of her unborn child may make alternative arrangements for her education necessary.
If the teen has a health or mental health issue or an emotional/behavioral issues, than treatment for this combined with care for her pregnancy may both be priorities. In such a case, a therapeutic program with a school may provide a location in which all issues may be treated. Such a facility may be recommended by a healthcare professional or social worker or found by searching on the website of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs with the keyword pregnant. http://www.natsap.org/programsearch.asp
Other Alternatives for Teen Pregnancy and Education
There are a variety of other ways to continue a pregnant teen’s education. Homeschool and distance or online learning are both approaches that can work for a pregnant teen for whom her former schooling is no longer working or who has medical issues that require that she not go to school. For example, a bed-ridden pregnant teen who was still alert and mentally up to it could still complete coursework without being able to be physically present at school through either of these options.
Homeschools must be approved by the state department of education and generally take some time to set up. They do, however, provide the maximum in flexibility for the teen and her family. For example, because homeschools can meet for longer periods of time in a day, it is possible that the teen could frontload the school year and get the maximum amount of schoolwork completed prior to the birth of her baby.
Accredited distance learning opportunities may be quicker to set up. Alternatives exist for receiving instruction over the Internet, through videos that are played on one’s computer or television, or through correspondence courses.
At least one charter school—The Polly Fox Academy in Toledo, Ohio—is specifically designed for teens who are pregnant or parenting. It offers grades 7 through 12 and has been open since 2003. http://www.pollyfox.org/ In addition to high school classes, Polly Fox features parenting training, subsidized childcare, and a flexible schedule.