JCPS program helps teen moms

Felicia Tolbert and daughter Leajia
Felicia Tolbert and daughter Leajia
Sara York
Sara York

By Maira Ansari - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Louisville Metro Police and Jefferson County Public School officials are still trying to figure out who gave birth to a fetus found March 29 in a girls restroom at Iroquois High School. While there are still many unanswered questions, there is a very successful program here in Louisville to help teenagers who get pregnant.

Since 1970, the Teenage Parent Program (TAPP) has enabled thousands of pregnant and parenting young women to complete their high school education.

After finding out she was going to be a mom at 17, Felicia Tolbert says she thought her future was over.

"I feel like my life was destroyed and I wasn't going to do nothing," said Tolbert.

"When a girl finds out she's pregnant, she's very distressed, very disappointed in herself scared," said Sara York, principal at Westport TAPP. "Just almost wondering if she can go on, she's afraid to tell her parents her school."

Tolbert attends Westport TAPP at 8800 Westport Road in Louisville. All of the 170 girls who attended the school are either pregnant or have a child. Now 18, Tolbert brings her six-month-old daughter, Leajia, to the school's child care center and then goes to regular classes each day.

"This is their option," said York. "When students find they are pregnant, they have the choice of remaining in their regular school or they can chose to come here."

At Westport TAPP, the school offers support and programs so young moms can finish their education.

"I couldn't believe you could actually come to school and actually have an education and actually become something," said Tolbert.

Tolbert is on the honor roll at Westport TAPP. She will be graduating this year and plans on going to college.

We found out there are a lot of success stories like Tolbert's. JCPS also has a second TAPP program at South Park located in Fairdale. In total, there are 600 students at the two schools. TAPP's graduation rate is 97% and each year, an increasing percentage of graduates enroll in college.

Copyright 2010 WAVE News. All Rights Reserved.