Our teens are fighting in a war that they can’t handle themselves.

This is just one of the many “pregnancy pacts” that teenage girls in communities and schools across the country are participating in. The girls create these pacts to form a sisterhood. They want to feel apart of something and have an image they can all identify with. Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to be young, single parents, birthing these children into an environment of instability and poverty, instead of aspiring to be lawyers, doctors, writers, engineers and scientists. Instead of game parties and movie nights, our teen girls are a apart of a group effort to get pregnant and give birth together.

The first suspected pregnancy pact to make news was in 2008 at a Massachusetts high school where 17 girls were pregnant at the same time. Local officials had said that many of the alleged fathers were in their 20’s, including one man who appeared to be homeless. Others were boys at the school.

Television shows like “Teen Mom” on MTV glorify the culture of teen pregnancies on a national stage, showing season after season of young women who are barely adults struggling to raise a child. These families are paid to live dysfunctional and destructive lives with no true emphasis on the result of being a teen parent, but screaming matches and custody battles instead. No one considers the affect this will have on the innocent infants as they grow up. The first few shows attempted to have a “teen pregnancy is bad” theme, but quickly changed as the teen mothers began to grace magazine covers and cable television interviews. Now, teen girls across the nation are reportedly trying to get pregnant just to be on the show and get a taste of fame.

Teen Mom 2’s Leah Masser, who already has a set of twins with her ex-husband, announced she was pregnant once again in January of this year. The 19-year-old nursing student told In Touch Magazine she was struggling financially and was hoping to get a spin-off show with this pregnancy.  A few weeks after that interview, she had a miscarriage.

The copycat factor definitely influences the audience of impressionable teenagers. It’s no secret that social media has fueled this behavior as well. But there is a deeper issue within our own community relating to teen pregnancy that needs to be identified and addressed. Our girls should not have to feel that the only way they can have a strong bond or sisterhood with others is through a pregnancy pact.

These smiles should be on the faces of young women who just took got a college acceptance letter or are getting ready to graduate from high school. But instead they are on the faces of young girls who are misguided and uneducated on the realities of being a teenage parent. Perhaps schools should start inviting adult women who were teenage mothers in for motivational talks to let the girls know this is not a path that one willingly chooses to take. Our girls have to know there is more to life and better goals to reach than being a teen parent. If they have the motivation to plan and carry this out, imagine the things they can accomplish if they knew what types of positive paths were within their reach.

Another topic that many feel is taboo is allowing schools to give out condoms to students. Is this something that should be considered? Or do we continue to say “Let their parents teach them”? With the growing number of teacher-student sexual harassment and assault cases, it’s hard to say which authoritative figure-parent or teacher-should handle the responsibility of teaching teenagers about safe sex. I’m not encouraging teens having sex, but being realistic about the fact that they are already doing it and being aware of the fact that teen pregnancy rates are clearly a factor in our society.

Not only do we need to be concerned about pregnancy, but STD’s as well. HIV/AIDS is REAL and on a skyrocketing trend in the black community among young men and women.

Our teenagers are on a runaway train to destruction. What can we do to save them?