Meridian Star

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December 7, 2012

Miss. gov tells teens to avoid early parenthood


Jackson, MS —

Bryant told boys at his conference they should be ashamed to ever be called "baby daddy," the slang term for a male who helps create a baby but takes little responsibility for the child.
"Really? Baby daddy? Now, young men, is that what you want to be called?" Bryant said. "Do you want to put that on your letterman's shirt? Put that on the back of your jersey? 'Baby daddy?'"
Some of the teens in the audience shook their heads.
A 24-year-old Jackson resident, Lakeisha McLaurin, said at the governor's conference that she lived in a hotel when she was in high school, partly because she left home at 17 to have a sexual relationship with a 27-year-old man. She said the man gave her three sexually transmitted diseases. McLaurin said she had a baby with a different man when she was 21, and he left her. Since then, she said she has found God and turned her life around.
"It's up to you to keep your legs closed, to keep your skirt down, to keep your pants up," McLaurin said.
At the Women's Fund conference, the registered nurse for the East Tallahatchie School District said parents and students have embraced the abstinence-plus curriculum. Stephanie Coker said students have been happy to get straightforward answers to questions, and she has been happy to dispel false information students have about what does or doesn't cause pregnancy — information she said students were getting from older siblings or cousins, or the Internet. For example, she said, one eighth-grade boy who had told teachers he's already sexually active said he didn't know that condoms have expiration dates.
Mississippi law requires parental permission for a child to take sex education. Boys and girls are taught separately.

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