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December 24th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Pregnant Pause

teen pregnancy2OK, did you see this in the news from my old stomping grounds in Texas? Mackenzie McCollum, a pregnant 17-year-old high school volleyball player in Fort Worth, Texas, has filed a federal civil-rights complaint after her coach first benched her for several games this season and then later required her to get a doctor’s permission before she could continue playing. She alleges the coach and school discriminated against her by not letting her play, and therefore, she may have lost the chance at getting a college athletic scholarship. Hmmm. 

The coach and his bosses at the school district contend that their primary consideration must be for the health and safety of one of their students, especially one who happened to be carrying an unborn child. 

Let me say from the outset, I’m the last person in the world who will ever condone teenage pregnancy. I am sickened when I read that unplanned pregnancies among teenagers are on the rise again. Children having children is never, ever, a good idea.  I guess the question the court will be asked to decide, if the case goes forward, is whether or not the teen mother-to-be was damaged by the school’s actions, or was it right to act to protect the mother and her unborn child? Again, hmmm.

As a former litigation strategist and consultant, I feel I could argue either side effectively. Federal Title 9 law prevents sex discrimination in education, and that includes classification based on a student’s pregnancy. So she is going to have an argument to make in court.

Still, what would you do here? After all, we’re not talking about croquet. We are talking about competitive volleyball, where players often have to “dig” for the ball by making diving moves toward the floor. If you were the coach of MacKenzie’s team, how comfortable would you feel watching her trot out on the floor (she was four months pregnant when she was benched)? Even though MacKenzie did get a statement from a doctor saying she was perfectly capable of competing, as long as she did not dive too aggressively for balls and land on her stomach, would you truly feel comfortable letting her play?

I do admire MacKenzie for having the courage to go public and fight for what she sees as her athletic rights. I also hope she is working even harder to prepare herself to be a good parent at such a young age — which is her ultimate challenge. Getting a scholarship could pay for an education that could help provide for her child, but either way, she has a long, long road ahead. 

So: Let her play, or sit her down? You make the call.

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108 Responses to “Pregnant Pause”

  1. Judy says:

    My comment is the 50th and makes it unanimous this girl should forget about valleyball and start focusing on her unborn child.

  2. sherry yancey says:

    I so agree with the lady that said sports are a priviledge, not a right.
    Side note, while playing sports in HS another team player was pregnant and didn’t tell anyone. She fell and broke her tailbone, which required an x-ray. This could easily happen to this mother-to-be. She needs to grow up…quickly.

  3. Anita says:

    I say sit her on the bench. Protect that precious baby. This is an example of “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

  4. Lisa says:

    This girl should have thought of this before she chose to get pregnant, and yes in this day and age it is a CHOICE!!!! This why teens should stop trying to play adults, this always happens they want to act like adults but don’t want the adult responsibility that comes with it. I SAY DON’T LET HER PLAY WHAT CIVIL RIGHTS WHAT ABOUT THOSE OF THE UNBORN CHILD THIS COULD BE HARMFUL TO THE BABY.

  5. Connie says:

    I believe she should be benched. She needs to think of her baby and what might happen if the ball were to hit her in the abdomen. She has to start thinking like a mom not a teen.

  6. Traci says:

    I think this young girl should take the same precautions any preganat adult should take while being pregnant. It does’t matter if she is 17 or not, that is not the issue, the plain and simple issue is she is responsible for the health and welfare of this unborn child. I personally say she should not play volleyball…too many risks of falling, being shoved accidently..etc

  7. yazmin says:

    I think that she has the right to say whats in her heart. If people say she is going to hurt herself, then they are putting that negative thought out there. She will be fine, safe and healthy. She is exercising & the baby is super protected. She wants to play and thats it.

  8. Liz says:

    I am guessing that many of the posters on this paricular thread have not seen “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”. I have lost track of how many stories I have seen of women drinking, playing VERY physical sports like soccer, and doing all sorts of “off-limits” things because they did not know they were pregnant. As a high school teacher and coach, I would hate it if one of my players became pregnant because I believe she would also be forced to stop playing. I do not condone teen pregnancy, but it is reality of our world.
    Additionally, the girl was tring to get a college scholarship. How is that NOT thinking about the welfare of her unborn child? What will that child’s life be like with a mother who has nothing more than a high school diploma? Public assistance, welfare? I applaud this girl and her family for recognizing that one of the best ways to secure her child’s future is for her to go to college. I went back to school when my oldest was 1 and then had my second child during my schooling. This meant my family only having 1 full-time income and one sporadic part-time income. My children had to sacrifice- then didn’t have designer baby clothes or every toy in the store- but I would rather have a child sacrifice those things at a young age when labels and toys don’t really matter to them. Their early sacrifice- and mine- will make for a secure future for the rest of their life now that I am a teacher!

  9. I think as long as the child’s obstetrician okays her participation in volleyball she should be allowed to participate in the sport for as long it is healthy for her and her unborn child.

  10. Edna Glenn Freeman says:

    This Pregnant girl should not playing sports while pregnant, because she should hurt her unborn child. Maybe the doctor said right way to the pregnant teen that
    she should stay home because she can’t play sports while she’s pregnant with child.

  11. Julie Gooch says:

    I agree that the coach had the right to bench her. She should not be allowed to play if it endangers her unborn child. Playing volleyball puts her unborn baby at risk. She was worried about a scholarship for sports not the welfare of her baby or how she was going to provide for it. She needs to be worried about being a mother not a volleyball player. Her main priority now should be her child not what she could have done. She needs to find a stable place for herself and her baby. She needs to find a way to provide for the baby and herself so the can both be safe and have a good life. For now her volleyball dream is on hold. She needs to get her head in the game that’s called life and care for her unborn child.

  12. Kim says:

    I am so heart broken, where r her parents in this, does she not realize the risk at hand to her and her unborn baby, the rates of disabled children r on the rise. As a parent of an autistic child, I could not bare the thought of her even trying to bring harm, what guarantee does she have that the ball wont hit her stomach or another team mate wont accidentally knock her over. I do realize that some children r just born with disabilities, but in this case, why chance it. There r other opportunities out there for her. She chose to have a baby at a young age, so now is the time to take responsibility, to put her baby’s safety first. Then, what if somethings happens during the game, who will she blame then.

  13. Linda Rose says:

    If the law allows for this teen mother-to-be to play volley ball then she should have to sign a waiver exempting the coach and school from any liability if she or her baby become injured hurt or if she has a miscarriage.

    Personally I don’t think she has any business risking her child’s life or well being playing ball. However because of discrimination laws and because the doctor gave her permission to play she may well win in court. As for this restriction interfereing with her ability to get a scholarship; that is nonsence. There is no gaurantee she would get a scholarship if she continued to play volley ball.

    When young kids make adult descions they must face adult responsibilites and consequences. Carefree youth is over when you become a teen parent. Babies come first.

    Too many people today want to act irresponsibilly without any consequences for their actions. They have to realize ; “If you dance to the fiddle; then you must be willing to pay the fiddler.”

  14. Rachel says:

    I was a pregnant athlete myself, junior year of high school….but no one knew. I was a cheerleader and continued to cheer until the season ended, 3 months into my pregnancy. I’m a lucky lady that nothing bad happened to my baby, and looking back, 13 years and 5 more kids later, I can’t believe I thought it was okay to continue on like my life was normal. I understand this girl’s desire to act “normal”, but her life will be anything but, and the first responsibility she should learn is that the baby comes first. No adult in their right mind, judge or parent, should allow this girl to continue playing volleyball.

  15. Jana says:

    this girl should be benched! She is pregnant, and what dr said it was okay for her to play htis particlular sport? she needs to do a “Mommie and Me”workout video, becaus eit is low impact arobics. The adults in her life are not be cautous and they need to be. they are being very bad Role Models for her and her new baby.

    Also why is okay for athletes to get pregnant in school? If this was a regular student, she would be blamed for getting pregnant. This isn’t good behavior either, but it happens.

    I hope she gets better guidance from the adults arounds her.

  16. samantha says:

    OK look Dr Phil i admire a lot of the work u do and i love to watch your shows but I’m gonna be honest here and say I’m sick to death of everyone putting down teenage parents. I myself was a teenager when i had my first child 13 years ago the names i would get called and the filthy looks i would get was horrible.Just to let u know i married the man of my child and have had 3 more kids since he works hard while i have been the stay at home mother raising my kids and studying at uni online. Yes it is very hard for teenage parents instead of putting them down and telling them how wrong it was to get into the position they are in We should be giving them support.Getting them to use the knowledge they have received from becoming a teenage parent to deter other girls of following suit. I was part of a program that visited high schools where we would talk to the students about the realities of being a parent showed them how much it cost us every week to live and provide for the baby and ourselves along with a lot of other things that no ones tells u about like the effort it took just to go to the store with a baby how much they can cry the endless nights things that most of these teenagers don’t see we even used baby alive dolls that simulated real ones .I might not have been able to stop all of the students i spoke to from becoming teenage parents but i know we saved a few.The other thing these girls need is support groups where they dont have to feel ashamed of making a bad choice.Oh and another little fact Contraception is not 100% affective so some of these teenagers have taken the right precautions and still have ended up in this position. Like it or Not teenagers have been having sex for years u can not stop this.We can only guide them in the right direction and when Contraception fails be there to offer support.Not put them down Not judge them But Help them get the right support they need to be able to provide for themselves and the child.

  17. Brittany says:

    If this teenage mom was playing volleyball for school and hurt her baby somehow during the game, would she sue the school for the injuries since she is so quick to file a lawsuit when they won’t let her play?

    The school should have a right to protect themselves from lawsuits by not letting pregnant girls play sports because there is an increased chance that they could get hurt and lose her baby.

    Outside of high school pregnant women are not allowed to ride rollercoasters or have X-rays because it could potentially be harmful to the unborn baby. There are lots of things pregnant women are permitted from doing while pregnant. It is in the unborn child’s best interest of course, but it also in the company’s best interest not to let pregnant women risk their pregnancy and welfare of their unborn child because they could be sued or held responsible for any injuries or happenings.

    I understand that the young girl in this situation does not want to feel alienated or forced to not be able to play sports like the other girls. But at this point she is not like any other girl her age! She is carrying a child, and she should really consider that the school isn’t trying to hurt her. They are only protecting themselves and her (and her baby of course.)

  18. Anita says:

    You know, just within the past month,or so, here in VA,Campbell Co., a young woman,early 20s, gave birth to a baby in her bed and smothered him to death with the bed covers, on purpose. Come to find out, she can’t be charged with anything, because there is a law on the books (in VA) something to the extent, if the fetus is still attached to the mother by the umbillical cord,and the baby dies,(evidently it doesn’t matter how) the mother can’t be charged because the fetus has no rights, or something like that.Mind boggling. So, while I think the pregnant volley ball player should be on the bench, if she lived here in VA, I suppose the law would be on her side.

  19. Wendy says:

    If that young women fell and hurt her baby, there is no doubt in my mind that the lawsuit against the school system would have been about them LETTING her play. As a teacher, I’m am sick that so many decisions in the school setting must be made out of fear of litigation. That said, if I were the administrator or the coach, I would have made the same decision.

    As far as the pregnant girl, she made the choice to get pregnant. She can make the choice to give her baby up for adoption and go to college or she can go to school at night, like so many before her. She got pregnant, she must take responsibility for the consequences of her actions.

  20. Katie says:

    Im a senior in high school, and I am infact a volleyball player myself. This year, we had 2 girls, our MVP and one of our top hitters quit the team because they were both pregnant. My coach was very upset, as were all of our teammates seeing as how we had a chance to make it to the top this year. Both girls kept thier pregnancies a secret up until about 3 months. Both girls had experienced scares and unusual bleedings, so they took it upon themselves to aknowlede the team and quit. Our MVP who had quit had multiple recruiters out for her, so she requested by the coach if she could continue playing if she was careful. My coach told her if she got the “ok” from her doctor, then she would be welcome back onto the team. By the time she actually got the ok, we were in our first game at the State Championship tournament, and we had lost, which meant the season was then over. The MVP blamed our coach for our team’s loss and stated that if she was alloud to play, she could have recieved scholarships and led us to victory.

    Even though I was on that team and of course wanted to win, I think our MVP was pretty dang immature for being “MVP”. If she couldn’t make it through high school without getting pregnant, then even if she recieved scholarships, what makes her think she could make it through college. She needs a wake up call that adult hood isnt too far, and she is not the only person in the world. Of course that baby deserves an educated mother, but doesn’t it desere a mature mother as well?

  21. Jo Ann says:

    I’ve had a teenager pregnant. My grandson was born 29 weeks premature. We were told this is not uncommon for a teenage girl. Also, because he was premature, she was in more pain than a full-term baby. This girl and her parents have to realize that besides protecting their daughter, the school system is also protecting themselves. No, I don’t think she shoud be playing any kind of sports. There are consequences for her actions and this is one of them. My daughter had to give up her favorite game, softball, because she had a baby to take care of. Lost a chance for a scholarship? Who is going to watch the baby if she does go on to college? My daughter went to LPN training out of Hi School. Came home and watched her son and studied when she could. After 11 years, she has completed her RN training while keeping house, taking care of a 13 yr old, working 32 hours a week and going to school f/t 4-5 days a week. She has passed her boards and is now an RN. Is this teenager willing to do that?

  22. Leah says:

    I think volley ball is the least of this girl’s problems right now.

  23. Joy says:

    She should be allowed to play. Her Dr. okayed it, then it is okay. I played several sports, bowled and hunted while helping my in-laws clear land for a new house. I was pregnant during those times. If you are already doing an activity, usually it is fine for you to continue with the activity.

  24. Kristi says:

    I, too, was a volleyball player when I became pregnant at age 15, 9th grade in high school. Despite the fact that I was already a starter on the varsity team, I decided it was in the best interest of myself and my daughter not to continue playing in 10th grade. Mackenzie needs to realize that there are consequences for her behavior and she will have to deal with them for the rest of her life. However, her dreams should not be on hold or ended, they may just have to change. I delivered my child in the fall of my 10th grade year, graduated on time and immediately went straight to college graduating with my bachelors in only 4 years. After working for several years I decided to go back to college for my masters degree. I did all of this without the help of my family – my mother was absent from the home beginning in my 8th grade year and my father made a career change when I was a junior in high school forcing me and my older brother to be on our own. Yes, I have surely beat the odds, but it was surely not easy. Mackenzie’s child did not ask be be brought into this world – I believe Mackenzie should do whatever she should do for the benefit of her child. Her childs needs should come first and foremost – her dreams, although not forgotten, should be put on the back burner for the time being.

  25. Ashleigh says:

    I have to agree with Leah sports in general are the least of her issues. As a mother who had a miscarriage before even having her first child it makes it apparent that she has no care for this unborn child as trying to play a sport pregnancy could send her into one or something far worse just from jumping around and so on. A premature birth you name it. This sickens me she’s too selfish. Go on to college yes I’m all for that BUT don’t stress the sports right now get the kid here safe and sound. If she’s this naive then I say the court should look at whether she’d even be a fit mother or if it be best to place child up for adoption.

  26. Anna says:

    I think that this girl should be focusing on the child she is caring. And the real issue should be being pregnate at 17. The increase of teens having babies and not understanding the long term commitment. This is a very sad issue. I have been watching a show on MTV about teen moms. I think that teens should have to take care of some babies for a couple of days to understand how much time and energy it takes to raise a child.

  27. sarah says:

    this girl shouldnt play volley ball, what happens if she got knocked to the floor and hurt the unborn baby. she should of thought about being able to play volley ball before getting pregnant. and shell have alot on her mind and have school and getting ready for the baby and other things.

  28. Lovely Rita says:

    Being a teenager who became pregnant at the age of 14, I do have an opinion about this. First off, when I became pregnant as a freshman in high school, my physical education teacher expected me to continue on as if nothing were different. She wanted me to do sit ups, push ups, and whatever sport we were currently on. It was no secret that I was pregnant; however, she demanded that I get a doctor’s note to not participate and still get a good grade.

    If I had been involved in a sport, such as volleyball, I might have felt that same way this young girl does, and I might have fought for what I felt was only right. Now, as an adult, who has been through what this young lady is going through, I would cut my losses and concentrate on the fact that I would soon be a mother.

    There is nothing more important in this world than upholding your motherly responsibility. No matter what your age, your pregnancy and children come first.

  29. Michelle says:

    I think she should be able to play if thats what she really wants to do. If the doctor says its okay than she should. As long as its not causing her pain and she can play to the best of her ability. And unless the coach benched her alot before I dont think its fair. It could cost her a college scholarship that she obviously really wants. Its her decision to make. Its her baby and she can do what she wants to legally do. She could give it up for adoption if thats what she wanted, its her choice.

  30. Rayna says:

    I hope she stays strong and fights. Young moms have too. Fight to move forward. It’s not easy to be a yound mom. (I had my son at 17, now he’s 17 and a good kid. You can’t sit back and take what comes, fight for what you want.)

    However. It doesn’t mean you will always win or be right. I think this is one of those times. There is no saying that another player will take “extra care” around you, or you won’t trip over someone going on a dive for the ball…… I know if this did happen and I were the coach………. I would would never forgive myself.

    I say good for you for trying, but put all that effort into finding what other options are out there. I don’t think to let you play is the answer, but I hope you take that fighting spirit and find your path……… even if it’s not the path you were to travel at first.

    Best wishes!!!
    RG in Virginia Beach

  31. suzytx says:

    “Even though MacKenzie did get a statement from a doctor saying she was perfectly capable of competing, as long as she did not dive too aggressively for balls and land on her stomach, would you truly feel comfortable letting her play?”

    Could someone explain how she could be competitive and not risk the above? Last time I checked, volleyball was a competitive sport, and not an exercise in cardiovascular fitness. Not only would her condition hamstring her own team’s chances of success, it might cause the opposing team to be either overly cautious in concern or overly aggressive in retaliation, neither of which is an appropriate response.

    Her doctor is living in a dream world.

  32. Anita says:

    I think “Ghostwheel” has the best response of all.

  33. Lynsey says:

    Okay. So this girl should not be worring about herself now its not about her anymore. Its about her unborn child. I owuld think that any person that is pregnant and playing any type of sport shoud have to have premison from a doctor before being aloud to play. I think that if vollyball was that inportant to her she should have that about that before deciding to have sex, proctected or unprotected. Anytime you have sex there is always that chance you may end up pergnat. I’m an 18 year old girl and i think about all of that. Now saying all this, I have heard from several doctors that if you are physicaly active before you become pregnant than you should have no trouble staying that way. Say she get knocked on the floor. Well, the baby is inside of her and had so much to protect it. I was told by a doctor that even if you are 9 months pregnant and land on your belly that most likely the baby will not be hut but yet there still is that chance. So i guess what i am trying to say is the should be aloud to play if the doctor says she can. Its her choice and whatever happens she has to live with.

  34. Susan says:

    Well, I’m in agreement with everyone who believes a very pregnant girl should NOT be playing basketball, not until after she has given birth and her doctor has given her permission to participate again. Personally, I have to wonder why Miss McCollum WANTS to play such an active sport where anything can happen, including a ball hitting her hard in the stomach, or getting knocked down accidentally, which could quite possibly cause a miscarriage.

    Since she chose to continue the pregnancy, then her first concern needs to be for the child soon to be born, not her own desire to play sports. I believe the school has the legal right to keep her off the basketball court, especially since they could easily be sued if something happened to cause a miscarriage while Miss McCollum was playing.

  35. bless the child and the child to be!

    i’m sure there must be a way for her to maintain her eligibility, stay in shape by working out with her team, etc — without the dangers of competitive play. i hope she can work it out so that her scholarship chances won’t be harmed and her life’s plans won’t be totally derailed.

    i secretly want her to play — a strong, big-bellied woman, spiking, jumping, blocking, passing, feinting — what a beautiful image that conjures.

    but the majority here is certainly right — about the risk, the danger, the terrible what-ifs.

    we women are like a greek chorus, and our message as old as those tragi-comedies, too. that role, though no longer staged, has never really gone out of favor! can’t you picture us singing and dancing around a group of pregnant girl-athletes, forming a fussy, protective, admonishing layer, a prickly cushion, a cackling reminder?

    “she should have thought of that before… she should have thought of that before… she should have thought of that before…”

    words that are as old as time, yet new to each generation that utters them. sad that we cannot remember swearing we’d never say such useless stuff to our daughters.

    because we know in our hearts the futility of wagging our fingers in young faces, spouting “should have”s. all through time, this is what we’ve done. nag, wag, shoulda, coulda, too bad! we remember fingers in our own faces, and the weird satisfied look of old women, witnessing the repetition of the curse that will be a blessing. how the pelvis will strain and stretch.

    because bearing a child is a solemn, somber, life-altering, plan-destroying proposition; there’s no joy in it! we were robbed, so it is only right that you should be robbed, too. it’s inevitable, it’s fate. she should have thought of that before… she should have thought of that before! why didn’t she think of it before?

    the chorus knows fate, the power of fate — and that is all the chorus knows.

    we’ve got to find a better way to speak to girls; i know we want to… no one likes getting stuck in the chorus for every show!

    hmm, what do you think? too much nyquil?

  36. Susan says:

    I also agree with Dr. Phil that it is sickening that the number of teenage pregnancies have risen as high as they have. We could debate endlessly about the causes, but I still believe the best way to PREVENT more teenage pregnancies is to as much as we can to educate teenage girls — and boys too, since no girl gets pregnant by herself — what can and does happen when they engage in partnered sexual activity, long BEFORE they decide to have sex.

    In addition to the show about teenage moms that one poster mentioned, another good program (to me anyway) is THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER, created by Brenda Hampton. The fourth season premieres Monday, Jan. 4, at 8pm (Eastern Time, that is) on the ABC Family Channel. Times will probably vary for other time zones. I think it’s a very good drama series for teens because it focuses on all the issues that come up when a teenage girl gets pregnant. The first three seasons are now out on DVD, and for anyone who has a teenager, I would highly recommend it, as it might very possibly save a lot of teenagers from having to go through the unwanted experience of a teenage pregnancy.

  37. kc says:

    i feel that she should be able to play to a certen extent just like when a doctor says that if you get pregnant it is not bad to keep up your physical activity just as you have before you got pregnant i do feel there is a point where ever women should slow down and stop but i think ti depends on what point in her pregnancy she was.

  38. Nichole says:

    Bench her … bench her NOW! If she is unwilling to except the fact that she is responsible for another life and the safety of that unborn baby then others must step in and make the decision for her. I applaud the school and the coach for thinking of the big picture. The teenager needs to grow up and realize that her life is from here on out her kid’s. Just because the baby is not here yet does not make his or her’s life less important. If she wanted to play so badly she should have thought about that before having sex. What if the volleyball came down and hit her in the stomach? Could she handle the consequences?

  39. Susan says:

    Pointedly Anonymous wrote:
    the chorus knows fate, the power of fate — and that is all the chorus knows.

    we’ve got to find a better way to speak to girls; i know we want to… no one likes getting stuck in the chorus for every show!


    I agree that finding a better way to speak to girls about the dangers of teen pregnancy is essential. I wrote an essay on these thoughts a few months ago, and I’d like to share it here.

    The Practical Advantages Of Abstinence
    by Susan

    One of the biggest mistakes teenagers and young adults make is believing that abstaining from all forms of sex with partners is a form of punishment. What they often don’t realize is that abstinence isn’t a punishment at all, but in fact is a very practical advantage. How so, you may be asking All right, I’ll be happy to explain.

    When I was in my teen years, which was at least two decades ago, I didn’t hear or talk about sex very much, if at all. It wasn’t a subject I was concerned with. I was attending a rather expensive private school, and I felt my primary obligation to my parents was to get good grades and graduate after successfully completing twelfth grade. While that may sound very boring and imply that my life as a high school student was all work and no play, that was far from the truth. I enjoyed an active social life, filled with friends, school events, and more than a few dances and parties.

    I even had two high-school romances during that time, neither of which led to, as we used to put it, “going all the way.” The reason was simple; I didn’t want to. I had the “sex talk” with my parents when I was sixteen years old, and it was an honest and revealing discussion. I learned that this mysterious event called sex could have some very unpleasant results, chief of which were sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.

    Just thinking about what my nice carefree life could turn into if either of those-altering disasters happened to me was enough for me to say an emphatic NO to sex whenever the topic was raised. In each relationship, it was raised more than once. Although both young men were annoyed enough to end the relationship over this issue, it was mildly disappointing but hardly devastating, because I still had the advantage. I had retained my independence, still had my friends, and most important, my freedom as well as my high school diploma when I graduated high school. I had completed the first educational goal, and I was ready to move onto goal two, which for me was vocational school.

    During the years before I got married and became a mom, I completed vocational school at “Katie Gibbs,” as it was often referred to, and was able to get my first job. This job offered a variety of benefits, including more job training at company expense, if I chose to take advantage of it. I took a series of educational course over those years, including computer training and word processing. Adding these valuable skills led to jobs that were even better, with higher salaries and the opportunity to learn more job skills.

    When I finally got married in my thirties and became a mom a few years later, I did both because I WANTED to, not because I was forced to by circumstance. Due to my avoiding sex in my teens and young adult years, with that one notable exception, I had successfully completed my high school education, my vocational training program, and I had worked at a variety of great jobs before deciding I was ready and willing to take on the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood in my thirties.

    Without realizing what an advantage abstinence was at the time, my life may have turned out very differently for me, and quite possibly much less successful. Abstinence from relationships that can — and often do — lead to sex can have the same practical advantages for all teens and young adults, if they are wise enough to realize it; the biggest advantage being the avoidance of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

  40. Raydell says:

    I think she should be benched i will but the baby in hards way if she played .

  41. Isa says:

    I think that the young lady should take some time off from rigorous sports for the rest of her pregnancy. The coach gave her a good 4 month run before he benched her. I’m a guy, and I’m I know that if I was on a volleyball team or any team, and I told the coach, “I can’t dive for the ball or play too hard”, he’d sit me down too (and rightfully so). I understand that her sports activity would have helped pay to farther her education, but she’s 17 yrs old, and she should’ve already understood that paying for and using some protection would’ve help keep her in sports. “You’ve made your bed now you must lay in it”. Excuse the pun, but it is what it is. Dr. Phil. I’m not a lawyer, and yet I believe that I could win my arguement on this one, even with you on the opposing side. Try me!

  42. OriginalP says:

    So – it’s being sat on the bench that’s ruining her chances of getting into college, not being pregnant at 17? Unless she’s putting her baby up for adoption, MacKenzie is going to find out soon enough that she won’t be able to finish high school let alone start college once she’s a mum.

  43. Amanda says:

    The girl is not playing basketball or soccer, it’s volley ball a low contact sport. I commend her for fighting for her scholarship, if she earned it-she deserves to get it! A college eduacation is important these days, almost no-one gets a decent job without it. It’s not up to us to judge her for her mistakes in life. We all make mistakes- learn from it and move forward and that is what she is trying to do- and that is- Better Herself!

  44. Maggie says:

    I agree a college education is indeed important. However,she should have focused her priorities on academic scholarship instead of an athletic one. Her priorities are way out of focus instead worrying on playing game she should be preparing for the future of her and her child. More importantly, she shouldn’t have been getting pregnant in the first place if her future at college was sooo important to her to begin with.Young and old alike now a days seems to feel there are no consequences to their actions and when faced with them, that it is unfair. What about all the others that didn’t make the team,were they discriminated against because they didn’t play as well as the others? How unfair.

  45. mapper1 says:

    I’m in agreement with the decisions that the coach made. The coach is protecting the mother and unborn child as well as any liability that the the school might have if something were to happen. Also, being an athlete on scholarship (this is how I went to school several years ago) requires 100% dedication to studies and the sport that will be paying for the education (which is a full-time commitment in itself). What about the child once s/he is born? Care? Nurturing? etc….

  46. Erika says:

    I can’t imagine wanting to take a nose dive into a hard floor while pregnant. What would happen to the other girls who would accidentally slam into her and she lost her baby? Would she sue them? How fair is that? Maybe she was hoping to lose the baby. I don’t know. I do know that as a parent her main job is to protect her child, even the one who isn’t born yet. Perhaps the school is trying to protect not only her, the baby, but themselves as well. This is a suing nation and this girl is getting an early start. Good for the school and their adult decision to protect everyone involved.

  47. Naomi says:

    Mackenzie AND THE FATHER of her baby both made a decision that they will have to live with. It is not our place or the court’s place to judge that decision. It is her coach’s and school district’s decision and actions that this complaint is against. Unfortunately, it is common for people to want to judge sexual harassment and sexual discrimination victims. Let’s be civilized and try not to make this situation more difficult for the victim.

    Mackenzie had approval from her doctor, so let her play. I played volleyball, basketball, and softball in high school. Volleyball is a competitive sport, but not a contact sport. I trust that her doctor would not have given her permission to play a contact sport.

    It is healthy for women to exercise while they are pregnant. There are six players per team on a volleyball court, so players should not have to dive much at all. Players are taught how to dive properly so that there is no impact on any part of their bodies. If I was pregnant and playing volleyball, I would not dive if I thought that any harm could be done to my baby.

    Did the restrictions that Mackenzie had while playing lower her performance so much that another player would have done better overall on the court? Based on her athletic abilities, chances for scholarships, damages done to her, and most of all the stand that her school is taking, I don’t think so. “The coach and his bosses at the school district contend that their primary consideration must be for the health and safety of one of their students, especially one who happened to be carrying an unborn child.”

    When did her coach and his bosses become her doctor? Her doctor said it was okay for her to play. Why does her school think it is okay to disregard the fact that her doctor approved this activity for her. Did Mackenzie disregard the restrictions her doctor gave her?

    If I was her coach and she disregarded her medical restrictions then I would have benched her. Who doesn’t want to protect children and unborn children? If she avoided “diving too aggressively for balls and landing on her stomach,” then I would have let her play.

    Why weren’t Mackenzie’s coach and his bosses at the school district concerned about protecting her civil rights? If all the details of her situation are as I suspect, then the coach and school district are guilty of sexual discrimination. Sexual discrimination is NEVER okay!

    There are no exceptions or excuses for sex discrimination. ” Federal Title 9 law prevents sex discrimination in education, and that includes classification based on a student’s pregnancy.” These laws are here for a reason. Our civil rights need to be upheld and protected.

    Mackenzie “may have lost the chance at getting a college athletic scholarship” because of her coach’s decision to bench her because she was pregnant. Sitting out several games would definitely have hurt her statistics. She may have also missed out on recruiters getting to see her play volleyball. I feel bad for Mackenzie. Her rights were ignored because her coach thought that his medical opinion was more important than her doctor’s.

    I admire Mackenzie for “having the courage to go public and fight” for her athletic rights, her rights as a woman, and her rights as a human being. There are many adults who do not have the courage to go public and fight for their rights. I hope that Mackenzie will have the courage and emotional strength needed to take her case forward to court. Mackenzie, don’t let anyone discourage you or stop you from fighting for your rights. I have faith that justice will prevail.

  48. Essie says:

    I think that if this girl would like to play volleyball, than she should play as much as she wants to. Go right ahead.

    However, “diving aggressively” is an expected part of competition. It is a team sport, and this girl is unable to do her share fully. Furthermore, despite what the doctor says, it is a fact that pregnancy shifts your center of balance, making you more prone to falls and injuries.

    So, play volleyball. Compete next year. Yes, that does suck for her.

  49. Fleur says:

    It’s her fault she got pregnant and now she (and probably, unfortunately everyone, because having a child is the whole world’s business and not just yours. The planet can only support 10 billion people and we’re already at 7 billion) has to deal with the consequences so it was right of that coach to make her sit out.

  50. Belinda says:

    I think the school was protecting itself, and the girl should be listening also! I mean its not her life any more I’m sorry to say… she needs to protect the baby at all costs and realize that she has a real responsibility to that child’s well being. I believe the school did the right thing.

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