Holyoke superintendent responding to teen pregnancy ranking

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the state, about five times higher than the average, but the superintendent of schools says that they are working to bring that rate down.

The Massachusettes Alliance on Teen Pregnancy released new data that shows 83 out of every 1,000 teenagers in Holyoke gave birth in 2010.

On Friday, students at Dean Technical High School gathered to learn about ways those numbers can get lowered.

Superintendent Dr Sergio Paez, who spoke at the event, told 22News that assemblies like these are among the ways schools are attacking teen pregnancy through education.

22News asked Dr. Paez whether a lack of funding had anything to do with the Holyoke such a high teen pregnancy rate.

“For me, it is never really about funding.  Its about us, individuals.  We have tremendous human power; money doesn’t resolve it.  It’s human power is for me the issue, it’s how can I inspire professionals, and kids, and families to understand,” Paez said.

Across the state, teen birth rates are down, and though Holyoke’s is the highest, it too saw a decline in teen pregnancy, with the rate dropping nearly 15% from 2009 to 2010.

According to the MATP’s data, Springfield had the third-highest teen pregnancy rate in the state, though that also declined, by 15%. Also in the top 20 highest teen pregnancy rates were Pittsfield at 11 and Chicopee at 16. Click here to read the complete list.

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