A Richmond, Virginia High School is taking a very controversial step in order to lower the dropout rate.
Last month, Armstrong High School opened up a child day care lab as a to better serve the needs of students who have children.
The day care facility will be inside of the school and will provide parenting skills classes for teenagers who have children, and also act as a hands-on lab for students who are interested in becoming licensed child care workers.
Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon said ”With this lab established, more students and parents will be impacted. What you see here is a fresh start for a lot of our students.”
Some folks feel like this onsite daycare will encourage more teens to become sexually active and have children. Others think that it’s just a sign of the times, and daycares inside of the schools help to make it easier for young mothers and fathers to finish school without the burden of finding reliable childcare.
This isn’t the first time that a school has opened a daycare for their students. In 2007 USA Today profiled a high school in New York that provided day care services for teen parents who wanted to continue their education after having children. At that time, West Side High School was one of 40 schools in New York that had a daycare.
I’m sure most people have an opinion on this issue, but I am not quite sure where I stand. I can see both sides of the argument. On one hand, I think that teen parents have it very hard and we should do everything that we can do to keep these children in school. We have got to do a better job of encouraging our teens and lifting them up even when they don’t make the most responsible decisions. But on the other hand, if we would spend more time talking to our kids and helping them make better choices before they get into these situations we wouldn’t need to have daycares in our school systems. If we used our resources to provide these kids with more extracurricular activities, they would’t have as much time on their hands to make the babies.
I just don’t know if I would want my child to attend a school where instead of talking to her friends about music, movies, and TV at lunch time the topics of discussion are breast feeding, diaper changing, and c-sections. Maybe I’m just the over protective dad who wants to shield his little princess from most of the things in this cold world, but something about it just does not seem right to me. I’m not knocking anyone who approves of this, but if my child was attending this school, I would have to get more knowledge on how the school’s administration plans on handling the center and what affect it will have on the student body.
The fact of the matter is that we need to spend more time and effort helping our children before they get to this point instead of trying to put a bandage over a wound that has already been bleeding for years and is only getting worse. I don’t think that this center will necessarily encourage teens to have more children, but I do think that some young people may look at it as one less thing that they have to worry about if they do have children while in school.
What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know…
Should high schools provide daycare services for their students?
Originally appeared at The Single Fathers Blog
Photo courtesy of Flickr/stahrdust3