It’s lunchtime at Benjamin Franklin High School, and as students stream in and out of crowded hallways, a small group of teenage moms congregates around a low, circular table in a closed-off room. With them are their toddlers and young children — some eating, one singing and another breastfeeding. The South Baltimore institution launched a family center in 2014 in response to a number of Benjamin Franklin students juggling families with studies and needing more resources to stay in school. Since the center’s inception, Benjamin Franklin has seen fewer absences, more students going to college and a teen parent graduation rate of 67% to 80%, school representatives say.
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