School for Pregnant Girls Proposed in Brooklyn

By Paul DeBenedetto
|  Thursday, Feb 24, 2011  |  Updated 4:30 PM EDT
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School for Pregnant Girls Proposed in Brooklyn

A new charter school for pregnant girls and teenage parents could be coming to Brooklyn.

According to a prospectus submitted to the state education department, New Directions Charter High School would provide a non-judgmental environment for pregnant students and teen parents to resume complete their high school education.

The Brooklyn school is being proposed at a time when many school districts nationwide have phased out special schools for pregnant teens. And New York City also closed its last four high schools for teenage moms in 2007.

The proposed school would include an on-site daycare, and focus on giving the young parents more time to learn by extending the school year from August to June, as well as extend the school week an extra day into Saturday.

"A lot of times when they go back to the regular school setting, there's a lot of stigmatization," Jacquelyn Wideman, one of the school's founding members, told the New York Post. "The goal is for them to perform at the same optimum level as regular high schools."

Other sponsors of the school include educators and non-profit administrators.

According to Jonathan Burman, a spokesman for the state education department, charter applicants must first write a letter of intent, and a prospectus that must then be approved. Burman said approval announcements would be sent out on Monday.

But the project has its opponents, like the Brooklyn Young Mothers' Collection, who don't see the charter school as an acceptable solution.

"We think it's discrimination," says Aisha Domingue, a representative of the collective. "We need to improve access to education for all students, and the community should provide the child care, prenatal care and public assistance that make their learning possible."

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