WMC-TV in Memphis reported last week that over 90 female students at Frayser High have had or will have babies this year, and 20% of the total female students at the school are teen mothers. In an interview, 16-year-old mother Terrika Sutton had this to say about the school’s pregnancy epidemic:
“It’s a shame that all these girls at Frayser are pregnant. But it ain’t nothin’ new…. They need a class where they can teach the girls before they get pregnant, use protection and stuff. Don’t try to get pregnant.”
That’s where the radical Memphis-area “No Baby” program comes in.
Jezebel notes that the Memphis City Schools curriculum offers 9th graders a Family Life Education course, with an “emphasis on abstinence from sexual relations outside of marriage.” But the mentors at Girls Inc. are hoping to supplement that abstinence-based education with an after-school program called “No Baby.” Bitch magazine erroneously reported today that the “No Baby” campaign promotes abstinence-only education. Not so. Dead center on the No Baby website is a big banner that reads, “Get Protection,” with a link to birth control providers in the Memphis area. Yes, the “No Baby” campaign wants teenage girls to know that they can say no to sex, but also that they can – and should – say no to sex without a condom. Its goal is to empower teenage girls to protect themselves not only against pregnancy, but against sexually transmitted diseases as well.
Deborah Hester Harrison of Girls Inc. says she hopes Memphis teens will tell themselves, “No. We’re not going to have babies. No, we’re not going to have sex. Or at least we’re going to be protected if we’re going to do something,” adding, “That’s really our purpose, is to teach these girls how to say no. They don’t know how.”
How do you feel about sex education in your child’s school?