90 girls pregnant at high school

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - As Memphis City Schools leaders discuss the best way to deal with the crisis at Frayser High School, one young student is dealing with parenthood.

The Action News 5 Investigators recently discovered 90 girls who attend Frayser High School are now pregnant or have already had a baby this school year.

Frayser is in Memphis City School Board member Stephanie Gatewood's district.  She said a former principal of the school first sounded the alarm about the issue about a year ago.

Sources told Action News 5 there is a massive initiative in the works dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy in the Frayser community.  The initiative will include after-school and in-school programs funded with grant money and run by a local nonprofit that already does some work for city schools.

Gatewood said there are programs right now to help students.

"Noting that our young ladies absolutely did not get pregnant in the hallways of our schools," said Gatewood.  "So while everything that happens in our communities, it just spills over into our schools.  Now we as a community have to deal with them."

Greenwood said the school board has implemented some plans to help children who are already parents or are about to become parents.

Meanwhile, Terrika Sutton is getting used to the challenges of being a teen mom.

Sutton's two-month-old daughter, Camiya, keeps the 16-year-old Frayser High School student busy.

"In the morning time, she'll wake me up about 5:00, and I'll get up and find me something to wear to school," said Sutton.  "I'll get her dressed, and if she has to go somewhere, her daddy keeps her sometimes and I'll get ready for school."

Sutton said she was five months along when she found out she was pregnant.  Her parents and classmates were stunned.

"They were like, 'Terrika, I never knew you would get pregnant,'" she said.  "I was like, 'well, it happened.'"

Roughly 20 percent of the female student population at Frayser High is already experiencing the trials of parenthood.

"It's a shame that all these girls at Frayser are pregnant, but it ain't nothing new," said Sutton.  "Some girls just try to do it because they think it's cute.  For some, it's an accident."

Sutton said she believes some girls are making agreements with each other to get pregnant.

"They probably plan it," she said.  "Plan what they're going to do to get pregnant.  No telling."

Sutton said educators need to do more to try to help prevent teen pregnancies.

"They need a class where they can teach the girls before they get pregnant to use protection and stuff," said Sutton.  "And don't try to get pregnant."

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