Jan 14, 2011

 
 
 
 
FAST FACTS:
  • Approximately 90 students at Frayser High School are pregnant or have recently given birth
  • The startling numbers fall in line with high teen pregnancy rates in the entire Frayser community
  • A new initiative to help combat the problem will soon be introduced


(Memphis 1/13/2011) About 90 students at a Memphis High School are either pregnant, or have been recently.

The startling news was confirmed by a high ranking city official and comes as the community plans to roll out a new initiative to help combat the problem.

However, one Frayser High School graduate says teen pregnancy is not a new problem for the school.

"When we would come back from summer break, there would be a thousand people pregnant. We were like, what's going on?" joked Alicia Williamson, who graduated from Frayser in 2004.

"There were a whole lot of bellies. You had to watch out so you didn't bump into them. Being 2011, I thought a lot of them would have thought this is not the right way to go, having babies during school time," she added.

The organization, Girls, Inc. teaches girls about preventing pregnancy.

Deborah Hester Harrison, who heads the organization, says Memphis' teen pregnancy rate stands at between 15 and 20 percent, almost twice the national average.

In the Frayser zip code, the rate is about 26 percent. Harrison partly blames the media.

"So much of our society is sexually oriented. As adults we can look at that and it doesn't impact us, but kids are different," Harrison said.

It's why Girls, Inc. offers classes where teenage girls "care for" computerized babies to give them a feel for what teenage parenthood is like.

The organization will also be part of a new initiative tentatively scheduled to be introduced next week.

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