LAREDO, Texas (KGNS) - So far this school year, UISD has 119 pregnancies reported and LISD has 76.
The Laredo Health Department keeps track of the number of teens who give birth each year. Despite that number gradually going down, the department says it could be lower with education on prevention.
As a 16-year-old mom, Angie Vargas does not recall learning about pregnancy prevention at school.
The lack of education on prevention or contraception options is just one of the reasons why the City of Laredo Health Department says teens continue to give birth.
Waldo Lopez with the health department says teens don’t have a place where they can learn about contraception options and they are being pressured into being sexually active.
Lopez also adds that the department keeps track of every teen that gives birth each year. In 2016 for every 1,000 births in Webb County, 43 were of a teen mom. Lopez says there are about 6,000 each year.
The rate is much higher than the national average, but lower than the state’s average. The health Department reports in 2016 the youngest moms to give birth were three 13-year-olds.
In 2016, there were 695 girls from the ages of 13 to 19 reported to have given birth. A small decrease from 2015 in which 814 were reported, but a big cut from ten years ago in 2007, when 1,202 teens gave birth.
Despite the number gradually dropping, the department says it still has a lot of work to do.
UISD says in middle school the course is called Healthy Lifestyles Choices in which puberty, reproductive health, benefits of abstinence, gender roles and stereotypes, responsibilities in relationships and lifetime goals are covered.
In high school UISD uses the parenting and paternity awareness curriculum. The program is designed to teach students about the rights and responsibilities of parenthood and paternity establishment, the realities of having a child, and the elements of a healthy relationship.
LISD says it works with the City of Laredo Health Department with implementing, Making a Difference program. This program uses evidence-based curriculum to provide young adolescents with the knowledge confidence and skills to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and Pregnancy by abstaining from sex.
But the department can only teach on campus what is approved by the schoolboard. With lack of lesson plans that include contraception options, the city develops programs for teens to have access to outside of school.
Both school districts offer resources to help teen moms. The city health department offers pregnancy and prevention programs at their offices.