School denies acceptance of teenage student after she gives birth

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“In our village girls do get pregnant and then go back to school thereafter. I wonder what is so different with my daughter,” Gomolemo's mum said.

There is a growing number of out of school youth who will never get to finish their education. This is due to a lot of factors most of these kids have no control over. But that doesn’t mean they have no desire to continue.

For this teenage girl in South Africa, all she wanted was to be able to continue her high school education. She had been forced to stop when she had gotten pregnant.

A year later, after she had given birth and had a more or less stable home situation, she contacted the school officials and asked to be readmitted.

What the school said

The school refused, saying she was now “old.” Gomolemo Mmelo is turning this year.

"The principal told me the system rejected me,” she said. “He also said he cannot give me a transfer letter because I dropped out. It's not fair because I know two pupils who were readmitted even though they were not attending school last year.”

Gomolemo believes that her age had nothing to do with her not being admitted back to the school, but the fact that she is now a mother.

Most upsetting, she said, was that another school was willing and ready to take her, but they needed a transfer letter.

“I do not understand why the principal is refusing to give me the transfer letter. I want to go back to school.”

“Yes, she became pregnant; it was a mistake,” said Gomolemo’s mother said. “In our village girls do get pregnant and then go back to school thereafter. I wonder what is so different with my daughter.”

The principal from the high school defended the institution saying Gomolemo was old and should apply at adult schools.

“She was a drop-out and we do not have her records on why she dropped out,” she said. “She came back this year looking for a space. Who is going to take a 19-year-old [for] Grade 10?”

Teenage pregnancy

If you are aged nineteen and below and are pregnant, it is useful to know these things:

  • Tell your parents or an adult that you trust.
  • See a doctor
  • Talk to the baby’s father. He has the right to know, even if he may not receive the news well
  • Build a support system
  • Just hold on. A pregnant teen should definitely not give up on herself and her child.

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