• High school senior sacrifices senior year for social experiment

    Date: 05.25.11 | by Judge Tom.

    Gaby Rodriguez is a 17 year-old senior at Toppenish High School in Washington. She has a 3.8 GPA and plans to attend college and study social work or sociology in the fall. Seniors are required to complete a project approved by the school. Gaby decided to study stereotypes and what it would be like to be a pregnant teenager.

    Few people knew of the experiment. Gaby’s mother at first thought the idea was crazy, but decided to back her up. Gaby’s boyfriend of three years was a reluctant participant not wanting any trouble with Gaby’s brothers. Gaby’s six siblings weren’t told or her boyfriend’s parents. The school principal was aware of the project and two counselors from a local hospital were mentors. She spent 6 1/2 months of her senior year pretending to be pregnant. Gaby titled her study “Stereotypes, Rumors and Statistics.”

    Gaby started wearing baggy sweaters and sweat shirts in the first few months. After spring break in 2011, she wore a small cushion she made around her belly. She told her classmates she was due in July, 2011.

    Gaby collected comments from teachers and students and then, at a school assembly in April, 2011, she announced that she was not pregnant. Criticism came from her best friend and others. “I constantly heard, ‘It was bound to happen,’” she said. “We’re looked down upon because Latinas are more likely to be pregnant.”  Gaby explained, “I’m fighting against those stereotypes and rumors because the reality is I’m not pregnant.” She handed out cards with some of the things she heard about herself over the six months.

    The reaction to her experiment has taken Gaby by surprise. She has received requests for interviews from as far away as London. She plans to make a few appearances on the talk-show circuit. Read here for more about her instant celebrity.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    • Askthejudge.info
      Thu, 26 May 2011 at 12:37

      New blog post: High school senior sacrifices senior year for social experiment http://ow.ly/1cS651

    • Divorce Lawyers Tulsa
      Thu, 01 Sep 2011 at 03:17

      Gaby has some real courage. A young person who has that much courage about her has a very bright future ahead.

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