At the Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit, 220 high school girls learn from their teachers, take notes, and bond with friends. At first glance, it's just your typical high school -- until you see the early childhood education center down the hall. The academy is one of four high schools in the country designated exclusively for pregnant teens and teen moms.
If not for the Catherine Ferguson Academy, one student tells Today, "I wouldn't be in school because I can't bring my baby to school. No one will watch him and I don't have the support team."
Another student says, "As my child gets older, I want to show her even though Mommy had you at a young age, I still finished high school, still graduated, still went to college. I made something of myself and I'm going to tell her you can do it, too."
In a city with one of the highest dropout rates in the country, Ferguson students are required to be accepted to at least one college by the time they graduate. Select students also have the opportunity to travel abroad.
"I want [the students] to feel like they have some power to determine their own future," Principal Asenath Andrews explains.
Like Ferguson, Denver's Florence Crittenton High School also caters exclusively to pregnant and parenting teens. TLC launched a six-part series based on the school in August.
But many schools have been less welcoming to teen mothers. This summer, Delhi Charter School in Louisiana made headlines for a zero-tolerance policy on teen pregnancy. If a student was suspected of being pregnant, she was required to take a pregnancy test; if the test was positive, she was expelled. The policy has since been changed.
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