TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A new study proves to be good news for high school students.
Teen pregnancy rates are at historic lows according to a National Campaign by Planned Parenthood. Still, the statistics in Indiana are not declining as fast as the national average, but educators across the Wabash Valley are noticing a change.
“We have approximately fifty students who are pregnant or parenting at this point,” said Karen Andrews, Principal at Booker T. Washington High School in Terre Haute.
It’s the fewest number of students the school has seen in several years.
“We have been in existence several years here in Vigo County, since about 1989, so we have declined throughout the years,” said Andrews.
It’s part of a trend across Indiana. The Hoosier state has seen a 45 percent drop in teen pregnancy from 1991 to 2012.
“These teens are learning they are worth waiting for and that abstinence is the healthiest choice for them,” said Sharon Carey, Executive Director of the Crisis Pregnancy Center.
It’s a message nearly 8,000 students across the Wabash Valley are learning through a course titled “Creating Positive Relationships.”
“I ask them, do you think you are ready right now to be a mother or a father? Most of these kids say no, so I ask them to figure out why they say that, so our program will bring out a lot of different aspects,” said Kier Hopkins-Smith, Instructor of “Creating Positive Relationships.”
Aspects of learning that Kier believes are working based on student response.
“I will practice abstinence and save sex for marriage. This course opened my eyes about how I need to think about the consequences before I act,” said Kier as he reads a letter a student wrote to him.
However, Indiana still lags compared to a 52 percent drop in teen pregnancy nationally. Despite great strides more education may be the solution.
“I think a lot of parents are really uninformed as to what their teens are facing, so I think that parental education is huge and that’s one of the things we are going to work on,” said Carey.
According to the study, in Indiana twenty-five teenagers become pregnant everyday.
“I think is there is one child getting pregnant then we still have work to do,” said Andrews.
The highest rate of unintended teen pregnancy occurred in the more rural counties.