Daily Archives: July 16, 2008

Amazing movie!

I heard all the hype. My kids listened to the soundtrack so often I ended up HATING the music. But until last night, I hadn’t watched Juno. I don’t know why. I did, however, listen to the observations and debate brought on by the movie’s content.
Early on, I heard several teachers say they hated the fact that the movie portrayed a girl like Juno giving her baby up for adoption as if it were no big deal. Other teachers said they were upset because it made it seem pregnancy was no big deal.
After watching it, I wonder what movie they were watching because the movie I watched showed a heart broken girl making the best decision possible for her child.
Those adults saying it made pregnancy no big deal need to wake up and take a look in the halls of our school. Last year at one point we had 48 DOCUMENTED pregnant girls in our school. And our school has fewer than any other high school in this town. Every one of the 48 girls kept their baby. Even the 14-yr-old moms. Even the 17-yr-old girl who already had a kid. Adoption wasn’t an option.
It’s not new. When I first started as newspaper adviser my students did a teen pregnancy story, and they covered all three angles: adoption, abortion and a girl who chose to keep her baby.
The mom went into labor in English class. My reporter followed her around with the child for a weekend and wrote an amazing story about what being a teen parent means.
The student who gave her baby up for adoption had moved to our town after doing so because she’d been persecuted so horribly by her peers at her old school when they found out about the decision.
The girl who had the abortion said she would never choose differently, but she would never be the same again. She felt like part of her heart was gone.
The series generated A LOT of controversy on campus, but not from the students. Over 40 teachers signed the front of the paper in protest, saying my decision to allow the stories contributed to the teen pregnancy problem in our town. Parents called and wrote letters demanding I be fired. Some threatened to take me to the school board.
Fortunately, I had a great principal. He told me every student in the paper was a student at our school and that the reporters covered the topic in a mature fashion.
It’s strange that 14 years later adults still feel this is the case. That simply addressing the teen pregnancy issue makes it worse. That mindset is a little like the one that says “I won’t let my kid take birth control or even TALK about that kind of thing because if I do, she’ll definitely have sex.”
If you haven’t seen Juno, I highly recommend it. It was very real.