Comments of the Day: “Irresponsible and Incompetent —and Jaw-Droppingly Stupid— School Administration Decision Of The Decade: ‘Hey! Let’s Have A Yearbook Salute To Seniors Who Have Kids Before They Graduate!’”

A banned teen mom yearbook photo from 2013

A banned teen mom yearbook photo from 2013

In dual (but not dueling) Comments of the Day on the same post, Chris Marchener ably carries on the ethical discussion of why it is irresponsible for teens to have children while in school and unmarried, while the Curmudgeon himself, Rick Jones, takes up my challenge and proves that some progressives understand that glamorizing self-destructive behavior is neither compassionate nor wise. Here are Chis and Rick, in that order, both delivering Comments of the Day on the post Irresponsible and Incompetent —and Jaw-Droppingly Stupid— School Administration Decision Of The Decade: “Hey! Let’s Have A Yearbook Salute To Seniors Who Have Kids Before They Graduate!”


I cannot agree that it takes heroic courage to raise a child as a teenager but I will agree that the child made the ethical choice to treat the developing fetus as a living human being. Upon birth the child could be given up for adoption. That too is a choice.

The fact is that the act of having a child without the personal resources to care for and raise the child imposes costs not only on the child but on society at large. I will admit there are no absolutes in describing the behavioral motivations of the young mother but much has been written on the subject such that many of these young girls are using the child as a surrogate for the unconditional love that they never received themselves. To that end the baby is merely an object to satisfy a need of the teenage mother. For these mothers keeping the child not heroic it is selfish. Glorifying the (poor) choice made reinforces the belief in others that having a baby as a teen is no big deal and may actually elevate their social status.

Who exactly is taking care of the child when the teenage mother is still in school? An extended family member? Maybe. What costs are being imposed on the family member that must now care for the child because you are in school? If paid daycare is the choice who pays for that? Who pays to clothe and feed the child? Not the young mother as she has no resources. Where is the father to pay for these costs? Oh I forgot we no longer have fathers we have “baby daddies” – those irresponsible young men that make their rounds inseminating as many girls as possible to prove their manhood because they never learned from a real father what it means to be a man.

Neither the pregnant teen nor the inseminating male have the resources to pay for the food shelter and medical care for themselves or their offspring as a result of their CHOICES, which is why our social services programs costs have exploded in the last 50 years. We cannot remind young people of the negative effects of a sexual choice if we eliminate the negative effects. We have no problem stigmatizing other behavioral choices. Smokers are social pariahs. The government banned us from seeing images of people using tobacco in publications so that children would not see smoking as a glamorous lifestyle and start the habit. We have a war on obesity in which we make the overweight person feel unattractive, unwanted and a blight on a healthy society. Why? Because the claim is that both of these behaviors impose third party health care costs. So, to all those not wanting to create a stigma for unwed teen moms do you feel as strongly about the stigma we attach to those behaviors or physical characteristics?

In the past, carrying the stigma of being an unwed mother prevented both the births of children that suckle on the teat of society’s resources, and the desire for abortions because the child – I reinforce the word child – did not make the very bad choice to engage in sex until they were socially and economically responsible enough to raise the child.

I would never stigmatize the child for being born to any single person because they were not consulted beforehand. I can, however, choose to find irresponsible sexual behavior among teens to be blight on our society.

The most important thing a female can do to empower herself to achieve future success is to make good choices about her own sexual habits early on. This probably means telling her suitors to keep it in their own pants.

Now Rick:

Do all progressives think this way?

I’m not quite as outraged as you are, Jack, but my reaction is sufficiently close to yours that I can say with confidence that the answer to your quasi-rhetorical question is “Nope.”

But what I’d like to concentrate on is not your analysis, but a paragraph from the linked article:

Mesa High is not the only school in the nation to be caught in such a controversy. Schools in Michigan and North Carolina this year have banned photos of pregnant students and of students holding their children.

Am I alone in thinking that we’re talking about three different phenomena here?

Banning photographs of pregnant students is ridiculous. They’re students. Their pictures belong in the yearbook, even if such inclusion shows neither the school nor the young women in question in the best possible light. Girls get pregnant and still go to school; some of them even contribute to the school’s culture as editors or club presidents or student government officers. Barring them from appearing in the yearbook at all seems more than a little unfair, not only to them but to their friends who’d like to have a lasting reminder of the friendships of their youth.

Not showing the kids of high schoolers is a perfectly reasonable decision, although insisting that the babies not be shown sounds punitive for no particular reason. I’m calling that one a wash.

What happened in Mesa, however, was neither of these things. This yearbook spread does indeed glamorize irresponsible behavior, and clearly sets out to engender a case of the warm fuzzies, concentrating on the pseudo-heroic efforts of young mothers struggling with the difficulties of student parenthood while blithely ignoring the purely voluntary choice that put them in that position. (Of course, it is possible that one of the mothers might have been a rape victim and chose for religious or ethical reasons not to terminate the pregnancy. That’s another matter altogether.)

The yearbook feature does, in fact, empower a group of young women who, having made a mistake, are trying to mitigate the negative consequences by continuing their educations. But such an argument remains sufficiently destructive to the next generation of prospective mothers who see only a romanticized view of profoundly counter-productive behavior that there is no question that cooing over teen pregnancies is a net minus.

One thought on “Comments of the Day: “Irresponsible and Incompetent —and Jaw-Droppingly Stupid— School Administration Decision Of The Decade: ‘Hey! Let’s Have A Yearbook Salute To Seniors Who Have Kids Before They Graduate!’”

  1. Having degraded the worth of their students to that of sexual animals, denied them the basic concept of personal responsibility and, now, being confronted with the inevitable result of their own depravity, what else can such “educators” do but redefine their moral criminality as something to be celebrated? Imagine how those kids will be reacting 20 years from now to that yearbook.

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