Memphis, TN: Frayser High School has finally, after years of competing with Elvis Presley’s Graceland, become well-known as a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, its claim to fame is not for academics, sports, or famous alumni. Instead, it is known as the school where 90 of its students, most of them female, are either pregnant or have given birth within the past year. This number is staggering, according to experts, considering that the school only contains 800 students.
Alicia Williams, a 2004 graduate of the school, is not surprised. “”When we would come back from summer break, there would be a thousand people pregnant,” she told the television station. “We were like, ‘what’s going on?’ There were a whole lot of bellies.”
At first, she thought there was a chance that the extended midsections were a result of overeating – that is, until many students started giving birth in the hallways, bathrooms, and even on the football field. She claims to have brought up the issue of condom use, but was met with blank stares.
“Condoms haven’t been sold in Memphis since the 10th anniversary of Elvis’ death,” says Chuck Boonweiller. “I remember it like it was yesterday because I bought the last one. I never used it, though. Now I have sixteen children.”
According to MSNBC, the numbers aren’t particular surprising, as between 15-25% of the female teenagers become pregnant at least four times before they reach the age of 17. Also, Frayser High School is a title one school, where 95 percent of students are eligible for free lunches and more than 100 students drop out between 11th and 12th grade, according to Public School Review.com.
Whether it’s socio-economic factors or just plain bad luck, Frayser High School seems to have caught national attention for its huge pregnancy rate. Many blame this on MTV – specifically its hit show “Teen Mom.”
“I love ‘Teen Mom,'” says Natalie Cassell, 16 and mother of 3. “Those girls are my role models. I’ve been writing MTV to get on the show, but they haven’t answered me yet. So I’m going to have another kid.”
“Yeah,” said Jill Humphries. “I love me some ‘Teen Mom.’ Those girls are awesome. If they don’t use birth control, why should I?”
In an effort to clamp down on the high pregnancy rate, local authorities are planning a massive teen pregnancy prevention campaign which will include an advertising campaign targeted at the community and after-school and in-school programs, but officials aren’t very hopeful in regards to the success of the campaign.
“Did the ‘Say No to Drugs’ campaign work? Nope. Look at all the crackheads,” says Marvin Hill. “You want to stop teen pregnancy? Take away MTV and tell the girls that all boys have cooties!”