Teen Pregnancy Rates



Elise Sotello with her baby after a mock trial win.

Mylie Navarrete, Staff Writer

     In 1992, at 15 years old Elise Sotello, found out she was pregnant with her boyfriend who at the time just got out of  the army. The couple made a plan to tell Sotello’s parents that they were pregnant and how she and her boyfriend wanted to be together.  Her parents were upset and angry but accepted the news. 

     The teen  got married on June 30th, 1992 to her boyfriend. Sotello moved to Bakersfield from Topeka, Kansas with her husband the day after their wedding. “I had never been to California, let alone Bakersfield, and I didn’t know anyone except him, ” Sotello said when they made the move to her husband’s hometown. Sotello  made the decision to still attend school so she started her junior year attending East Bakersfield High School in the Fall of 1992, “pregnant and married”. Her baby was born October 26th, 1992, “because of the support of my husband, his family, my teachers, and my friends”. Sotello graduated sixth in her class in June of 1994.      

     Education was very important to Sotello, she wanted to finish school before having more children but barely made it because she was pregnant with her daughter when she graduated CSUB in 1998. Sotello graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Communications with emphasis in Journalism and a minor in History, with two children and a husband. According to County Health status profiles, official pregnancy rates are 23.2 per 1,000 15-19 year old females for 2018-2020. Freshmen Amari Amey, Melanie Gonzalez, and De’andre Johnson  all were not aware of these rates. The students each had their opinions on teen pregnancy, “I believe there’s a lot of teen pregnancies going around in high school and eventually there would be a class added” Melanie Gonzalez said. She also stated that she is aware of the struggles a teenage mother can have and thinks having a class just for teen mothers would be very “useful”.  

     The three freshmen do not think it would be fair if teen mothers were denied the ability to attend school. “I would start a protest to let them go to school and get their high school degree”, Amari Amey said. De’andre Johnson does not think it would be disruptive to have teen mothers here at RHS because, “I think it’s normal for most teens to get pregnant in high school”, but he would feel quite odd seeing pregnant teens on campus “because it means students are having sexual intercourse”. Amey had a different opinion on whether having teen mothers on campus would be disruptive because, “there would be drama and they would probably fight” . Gonzalez  says that having teen mothers stay on campus would be fair because  she believes that making teen mothers go to their own campus would make them “feel more different then they already are from normal students.” Johnson disagrees with Gonzalez and thinks they should have their own campus so they can have a more comfortable setting to learn if they are having a rough time.  For some young women and young men, a pregnancy in adolescence can seem life-ruining, but according to Sotello with enough support that can help a teen mother achieve their goals.