A group of young mothers who became pregnant as teenagers are sharing their stories in a research project aimed at changing public perceptions. Some of the accounts were shown publicly for the first time today.
Each of the young parents delivers a brief narrative in a digital format that combines video, recorded voice, still and moving images and other sounds.
The point of the collective works – 31 stories in all -- is to remove the stigma and shame surrounding teen pregnancy and promote change in public policy that focuses almost exclusively on prevention.
The Pittsfield Public School’s Curriculum Subcommittee has been meeting with district and community partners to address the city’s troubling teen pregnancy rate by expanding and strengthening programs both in and out of school.
According to the 2010 Massachusetts Birth Report released by the state Department of Public Health earlier this week, the most recent data shows the rate of teenage women aged 15 to 19 having children dropped from 19.5 per 1,000 in 2009, to 17.1 per 1,000 in 2010.
The teen birth rate is now the lowest recorded in the commonwealth, and Massachusetts is now trailing only New Hampshire for the lowest teen birth rate in the country. The Granite State leads with a teen birth rate of 15.7 per 1,000.
Public school officials in Springfield, Massachusetts will be mailing letters and making telephone calls to the parents and guardians of thousands of middle and school students to let them know about the district’s new condom availability policy.
Starting September 1, condoms will be available to students from school nurses. parents and guardians who do not want their children to have access to condoms can opt-out of the policy, but at least one school committee member has called idea that condoms could be given out in school to 12-year-olds, “unnerving.”
A community wide collaboration is credited with helping to reduce teenage pregnancy in Holyoke Massachusetts. Officials acknowledge there is much work yet to do, as Holyoke has the highest teen birth rate in the state. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports
The second largest public school system in Massachusetts is going to make condoms available to students as young as 12 beginning this fall. The school committee in Springfield, Thursday night, approved a condom availability policy that proponents say will become part of a comprehensive effort to combat one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the state. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.