NPR logo Teen Pregnancy Epidemic? Memphis Officials Say No, But Do See Problem


Teen Pregnancy Epidemic? Memphis Officials Say No, But Do See Problem

Some national media outlets have zeroed in on a week-old report from WMC-TV in Memphis that quoted a local advocate of efforts to reduce teen pregnancy as saying that 26 percent of the girls (about 90 in total) at one high school in the city have gotten pregnant this year.

The Daily Beast, New York's Daily News and MSNBC are among those who have latched on to the story.

Going unnoticed: This report two days ago in Memphis' Commercial Appeal. It writes that:

"Shelby County has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation, Memphis City Schools Supt. Kriner Cash acknowledged Tuesday. ...

"But Cash said local and national news stories are inaccurate when they say that 90 students at Frayser High School are pregnant or recently have given birth. ...

"Cash said there may be some schools with 10, 15 or 20 pregnant students, but none have 90."

Still, the newspaper adds, local governments are launching a "$4.2 million program that will hire five social workers to focus on identifying pregnant teens and teen mothers and link them to services."

And the local advocates who have raised the alarm about the number of pregnant girls in Memphis-area schools have launched, which aims to "help teenagers in Memphis, TN gain access to the knowledge and resources needed to prevent unplanned pregnancies."