CARTHAGE, Mo. —
More communication between parents and students is needed to prevent teen pregnancy.
That’s the message Jane Goade said she hears constantly from students involved in the Carthage Parents as Teacher program. PAT will sponsor a public forum for students and parents on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Carthage R-9 Auditorium.
Goade, the program coordinator, said she knows communication won’t prevent every teen pregnancy, but students who also have become parents tell her “they wish there could have been more communication.”
“Our primary objective is just to get parents and students talking in their homes about this issue,” she said. “We’re not advocating; these are decisions that need to be made at home.”
Planning for the forum has been discussed for more than a year, and speakers will include former students who became pregnant as teens. Goade said the group includes some students who have graduated near the top of their class, but added, “It’s not the easiest route; they’ll be talking about the obstacles and the hurdles.”
Superintendent Blaine Henningsen said the program does not replace sex education that is included in the health education curriculum and is already offered by the district.
“It’s not best to go down that path — that’s one of the things they’ll talk about,” he said. “But we also want to get across, that if it happens, we still embrace you and we want you to finish school.”
Goade said the PAT program works with both male and female students when they learn of a teen pregnancy to help those students remain in school. She also said students can receive high school credits for attending a teen parenting forum held every three weeks that focuses on the challenges they will face.
“We want them to graduate and succeed. That’s better for them and their children,” she said.
Jane Goade, coordinator of the Parents as Teachers program in Carthage, said staff, school principals and counselors are involved in planning the teen pregnancy forum with adults in the community who have been teen parents.