Monday, January 17, 2011

Braces, passing notes, and morning sickness

It's the kind of thing you never want in the newspaper.

As a parent, daughter, friend, and former 8th grader, the first entry in my local paper's police report this weekend was about an unnamed 13 year-old girl, impregnated by her unnamed 15 year-old boyfriend. The boyfriend is charged with some sort of statutory rape.

First of all, the fact that this is in the paper, with their hometowns listed but not their names, is just irresponsible. I worked for this newspaper in the past. I like the staff and generally agree with their decisions. But this one crosses the line. I know the police reports are public record, but this should not have been included in the paper. Sure, the newspaper has a responsibility to its public, but are they going to accept responsibility for this girl being embarrassed out of school and ridiculed? Because, though people would find out soon enough, putting it in the paper, even unnamed, at a small school will certainly start the Mean Girls' wheels-a-turning.

However, I admit that I was no better than a catty 8th grader when I read it. I immediately told another friend about it. We wondered who it could be. And as a parent, though none of my business, I became concerned.

Thirteen. What were you doing at thirteen? I'll tell you what I was doing. I was in 8th grade at Carl Sandburg Junior High School. Boys were on my mind, but thankfully, not on my body. I was coordinating trips to the mall and rides to the movies.

Not figuring out where I was going to deliver.

I know! Howabout in a couple of years, I have a REAL baby!

I live in a small town. The school my boys attend is in the same building as the middle school. Which essentially means my kindergartner and third-grader attend the same physical building with a student that's pregnant. I can't quite wrap my head around it.

If she keeps the pregnancy (because at this point, we have no idea where she is at in her head or her parents' in theirs), that means that when this child is in kindergarten, she will be 18 or 19. When this child is 13, she will be around 26. When this child is 18, the young mother will be my age...31.

If we are to blame anyone (because, hey, that's what we do in America), I'll start with her parents. YOUR KID IS IN EIGHTH FRICKING GRADE. What are you doing exactly? If your child is having sex, or at least having a boyfriend in high school, you better be damn sure where your kid is at all times. Ever meet a 15 year-old boy? Do you KNOW which head they think with?

There are those that will say, "How could have the parents known?" Sure, I get it. Kids are sneaky. Kids can be deceptive. But if there's one thing I know about sexually active teenagers is that they're rarely think to hide the evidence. Look at your daughter's neck, Grandma-at-35. See any hickeys? Does your daughter have no alibi for her whereabouts? Double check with the boyfriend to see what his story is.

I know teen pregnancy happens. But in 8th grade? I hope someone calls DCFS on your not-watching-your-middle-school-daughter ass.

My daughter is 3. I know, I know. Wait until it happens to me, right? Wrong. I know what a sneaky kid I was, and I lived in a much bigger place. I'll be on her like white on rice. There are reasons parents are to know where their kids are, whom they are with, what they will be doing, and what time they will be home.

If I had make assumptions about the parents of the girl who probably still plays with American Girl dolls, I would bet they are the type that want to be her friend. At a birthday party this weekend, my friend's 13 year-old niece was there and my friend asked her if she knew who this girl was. The niece said she did know of a 13 year-old girl in her grade with a 15 year-old boyfriend, and the parents allowed the boyfriend to sleep over.

If this is true, why not just give them some candles, silk sheets, and Barry White CD, too?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I agree with you on the parents thing. . . although I also know that when I was 13, I had my first boyfriend. And I was allowed to go over to his house. His parents were always home, but they weren't always in sight. ;) And I still think my parents raised me right. . . - MM