ST. PAUL, Minn. - Teenagers across Minnesota are now back in class, but for some of the girls, they won't make it to the end of the school year because of getting pregnant. Judith Kahn, executive director of Teenwise Minnesota, says pregnancy is a leading cause for girls to drop out of high school.
"We're looking at national data and Minnesota is kind of running along similar lines. Where we see nationally that 30 percent of teen girls who have dropped out of high school cite pregnancy or parenthood as a reason. And if you take a look at the data even closer, you're going to see that the rates are much higher for minority students."
Kahn says one in three teenage mothers will not earn a diploma or a GED. Studies show that over the course of a lifetime, a high school dropout will earn about a million dollars less than a college graduate.
One way to reduce teenage pregnancy, according to Kahn, is to be open and honest with your children, so they don't have to rely on friends and stories from the locker room.
"One of the biggest risk factors for becoming pregnant is not having access to accurate information around birth control and contraceptives and about decision-making and about abstinence."
Kahn says another key to preventing teenage pregnancy and in keeping teen moms in school is to make sure they're getting the support they need.
"We know when young people have a sense of their future, they have a sense of their own competence and feel like there's something they want to do and can do, they're going to stay in school, first of all because they see a pathway. And they're going to be less likely to do things to get in the way of that dream, such as getting pregnant."
On average, there are 15 teenage girls who become pregnant in Minnesota every day.