By Ursula Madden
MEMPHIS, TN – Ninety students who attend Frayser High School in Memphis are currently pregnant or have already had a baby this year. The stunning number means nearly 11 percent of the school’s approximately 800 students are already experiencing the trials of parenthood.
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. Nearly 100 percent of the students who attend the school qualify.
Such a high rate of pregnancy at one school is dire, but sources tell Action News 5 there is a massive initiative in the works dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy in the Frayser community.
The initiative will include:
- After-school and in-school programs funded with grant money, operated by a local non-profit that already does some work for city schools.
- A $250,000 advertising campaign targeted at the Frayser community that is based on research done in focus groups at the school.
- A federally funded component that emphasizes the responsibility of young men, operated through a Memphis hospital
The city of Memphis is also a partner in the initiative, and could offer some support, possibly through the Social Innovation Fund.
While those 90 students will not benefit from such a highly targeted pregnancy prevention initiative, it could truly give future generations of Frayser High School students an expectation of excellence, no excuses, and no worries about parenting.
Some details on the initiative are still being hammered out, but the partners in the massive effort are expected to roll out the plan on January 20th.