Oh, Baby!

Flour Baby Project Teaches RA Students About Parenthood


Karleigh Orgeron’s baby, Tatum.

Staff Report

Besides their books, computers and sports equipment, some Riverside Academy students have had a little extra bundle to carry around this week — a baby.

Actually, it’s a 5-pound bag of flour, some with a “face,” wrapped in a blanket. Some students simply tuck their little bundle of joy in the crook of an arm as they make their way from class to class. Others found tiny toy baby carriers to make things a little easier.

But the whole point of the experiment is to teach teenagers that taking care of a baby is hard.

It’s part of Mrs. Kerri Roussel’s Adult Responsibilities class, an elective in which students learn about relationships, finances, budgeting, and other  “adulting”  skills, including one week of being a “parent.” Students must tend to their “child” the entire time, can’t pass them off on friends or teachers or leave them unattended.  Only three hours of babysitting are allowed per day. Teachers are asked to report any signs of “child abuse” or mistreatment. Even at home, students must set an alarm to “feed” their child in the early morning hours.

“I’m exhausted,” said senior Haley Millet.

“The hardest part is just holding it and taking it everywhere I go,” said junior Elijah “Bill” Davis.

“The focus of the activity in this curriculum is centered on preventing teenage pregnancies, developing and awareness of the responsibilities and demands of parenthood in future life,” Roussel wrote in a letter to teachers. “Too many teenagers are becoming parents and dropping out of school. The goal is to reduce those numbers through early intervention and awareness. This activity is one step toward that goal.”