About 90 teenage girls at one public high school in Memphis, Tenn., are either pregnant or have had a baby this school year, according to media reports.
Frayser High School has 978 students – 508 of which are girls. That means nearly 18 percent of teen girls at Frayser are either currently pregnant or recently had babies.
As a Title One school, Frayser receives federal dollars based on the number of students from low-income families who qualify for free or reduced lunch, according to WMC-TV.
Pregnancy is not a new problem for the school, one Frayser graduate says. "When we would come back from summer break, there would be a thousand people pregnant. We were like, what's going on?" Alicia Williamson told KTUU. Williamson graduated from Frayser in 2004. She added, "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.”
The news comes as the city plans an initiative to fight teen pregnancy in their community with a nonprofit organization called Girls Inc., which teaches girls about pregnancy prevention.
In Memphis, the teen pregnancy rate is between 15 percent and 20 percent – and in Frayser, the rate is 26 percent, said Deborah Hester Harrison, executive director of Memphis’ Girls Inc. It’s no surprise that Harrison places at least part of the blame on the media, such as the popular MTV shows “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.”
"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.