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Mixed MessagesNorms and Social Control around Teen Sex and Pregnancy$
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Stefanie Mollborn

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190633271

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190633271.001.0001

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“Scare It into Us”

“Scare It into Us”

School Norms and Social Control

(p.117) 5 “Scare It into Us”
Mixed Messages

Stefanie Mollborn

Oxford University Press

School plays a complicated role in regulating teenagers’ sexuality. School is a fishbowl that contains peer interactions and social exclusion. It also represents the key institutional pathway to socioeconomic success that parents emphasize when communicating the practical rationale against teen sex. School administrators and staff exercise powerful social control in their own right, within constraints placed by the district, state, and nation such as Title IX legislation. They communicate teen pregnancy norms through hidden agendas, act as agents of formal socialization through sex education, and often exercise physical control over pregnant girls’ bodies by facilitating their transfer out of the school. In many cases, these actions encourage a climate of silence and invisibility around teen pregnancy in the school. In communicating and enforcing teen sexuality norms, schools often act as a mouthpiece for the broader community.

Keywords:   norm, social control, teen sex, teen pregnancy, school, sex education, hidden agenda, institution, invisibility, Title IX

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