What do you say when your three daughters, aged 16, 14 and 12, give birth to out-of-wedlock babies? Val McQueen writes on TCS about Julie Atkins, a welfare mother and grandmother in Britain.
Their twice-divorced mother, who lives with her daughters and their babies in a free three-bedroom council house told the papers, “Frankly, I blame the schools.”
Sex education is inadequate, the mother complained.
When the neighbors, reading this, lost no time in calling the papers to report that Mrs. Atkins had been allowing her then-11-year old daughter to have sex with her 13 year old boy friend in the family home, Mrs. Atkins widened her sphere of culpability for her daughters’ pregnancies to include “the government.”
For the older girl, it was her fourth pregnancy; she had two miscarriages and an abortion when she was 14 and 15. Her 38-year-old boyfriend has visited the baby a few times; the younger girls’ babies haven’t seen their fathers and aren’t likely to meet them.
I was startled to read that 49 percent of births in Britain occur outside marriage.
Update: As an antidote, here’s part of a San Francisco Chronicle series on outstanding high school graduates.
The college admissions essay was intriguing: Who is the one person, living or dead, you’d spend a day with if you could?
Patrice Webb chose a man who had long piqued her curiosity — and her anger — though she couldn’t conjure up his face if she tried.
She chose her father. “I would spend a day with him because I know so little about him,” she wrote in her essay.
Patrice is graduating from a Oakland high school that graduates only a third of its students. Pushed by the school secretary, who got her a summer job at a jazz radio station, she’s going to San Jose State to study music and business.