If there's ever a story that hit me hard, it was this one. I wrote about Catherine Ferguson Academy last year. It was the subject of the groundbreaking documentary Grown in Detroit. The school is one of only a few left in the country for pregnant girls or girls with children giving them the opportunity to stay in school. More than that, the school has taken advantage of the abundance of vacant land in Detroit by teaching the girls to farm. It's a stable trade which brings local nourishment to a struggling community all with one program. And now thanks to a unilateral decision which according to Civil Eats, "allows Michigan governor Rick Snyder to dismiss locally elected officials and put in place new ones," the school is on the chopping block and will close this summer, leaving the girls with nowhere to go.The students at Catherine Ferguson Academy turned a small garden on their playground into a sizeable organic plot complete with apple trees, horses, pigs, and goats. In a country where, according to the movie, 90 percent of moms drop out of school because they get pregnant, there are far too few opportunities left for these young moms.
Pregnant Teens With No Place to Turn
These girls, on the other hand, have the opportunity to graduate and go to college. In fact, 90 percent of Catherine Ferguson girls graduate and they are taught with the expectation that they will go to college, according to Civil Eats. It's downright incredible. If this isn't working, than I don't know what is.
Students are taught to harvest, weed, clear a bed, and market the produce that they sell from the farm. See, that's the key. They're not just taught how to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, and produce honey, they are taught how to market the goods that they grow.
Rachel Maddow reports on new laws which dismiss public officials and replace them without election while closing a school that's working without any push back. And a police department which arrests young pregnant girls protesting and then turns the sirens so loud that reporters can't hear what the girls are saying.
Watch Rachel Maddow:
If you'd like to support the school, you can sign the petition.