Knoxville (WVLT) - They've been up most of the night, feeding and rocking their babies, but they're not ready for parenthood anytime soon.
Eighth graders at West Valley Middle School in Knox County took home a "baby" last night for an extra credit assignment.
It's part of the 'think it over' program designed to help prevent teen pregnancy.
These are not ordinary baby dolls, but baby simulators.
They are designed to be a wake up call to teach students that parenting isn't easy.
They are part of a nationwide program is called "Think It Over".
And after taking the babies home last night, students in Ms. Besham's eighth grade health class are certainly thinking out loud.
Eighth grade student Hallie Baker says, "I think it's taught us a really good lesson that we definitely need to wait until we're married and a lot older so we can be more responsible. And we're not ready for that yet."
The experience proved to be overwhelming for most of them.
Student Season Duffey says, "It was a little nerve racking. I just wanted to study and all of the sudden you hear a baby cry and you have to go take care of it."
Eighth grader, Jordan DeLong says, "My baby did not go off until 1:00am and then it woke back up at five. I broke down and cried."
But Ms. Besham considers the students' complaints, a successful lesson. She can tell how their night went by reading the print out from the doll's transmitter.
"They are graded on care, whether they feed it, burp it, have it's head supported."
Ms. Besham says the baby simulators are a good introduction to what's required of real parents. And they give real insight that will help students make good decisions for themselves.
The dolls also have the capability to detect abuse and neglect.
Many of the students said they were stressed out by the experience, but are now more aware of what it takes to have a baby.
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