Update: We received the following response to a previous article on teen pregnancy:
I have enjoyed your column and wish that you would have started it years ago. Many students and parents have questions and don’t know where to turn for answers.
I do think that your response to the 16 year old pregnant teen was less than appropriate. As you both know, many of the emotions with unwanted pregnancy include fear and shame.Responding to this teen asking for help as “mothers” was only perpetuating those feelings. The teen is already pregnant and it was not helpful to give an “I told you so response.”
What she needed was your expertise as school counselors to link her to agencies and services that would guide her through the process. She needed support and contacts and did not get either. She just got advice from two mothers. As a person that also works with teens in my profession I also have feelings about some of their unsafe or unwise choices. It is my role to guide them not judge. I look forward to future columns and despite that one response still feel it is an asset to the community.
We would like to thank you for your response and kind words. Our hope is you will understand that as public school employees, when dealing with a child as young as 16, we are very limited as to the information we are able to give.
We are not sure to what agencies you’d have us direct her. We can’t offer names of abortion clinics, adoption agencies, or general medical clinics, but instead, we would be there with her if she needed help talking to mom and/or dad. If she were 18, it would be a completely different story, and of course we could talk to her about her other options. As mothers, we would be most angry if one of our 16-year-old daughters were told where to get an abortion, medical help, or general assistance with a pregnancy or adoption without us first being included in the discussion.
We so appreciate the work you do with kids! Please feel free to email us any time
Sally Phillips and Jeannie DeLancey are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children and Sally has three. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Class Act, The Norman Transcript, P.O. Drawer 1058, Norman, 73070.