Newswatch 12 reports: Teen birth rate drops in the United States, still higher than other countries; Sexual education could decrease rate even moreSubmitted: 11/25/2014

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WISCONSIN - Teen birth rates dropped significantly across the country in the past few years.

Despite the decline, the United States still has the highest teen birth rate compared to other developed countries.

There are many reasons the rate is going down, and there could be many explanations to why the U.S. is behind other countries.

Education could decrease the rate even more.

That could prevent more people from having to go through the difficulties of being a teen parent.

Robbin Saule found out she was pregnant when she was in high school.

Her son Lukas is now two and a half years old.

"A lot of my teachers looked down on me a little bit," says Saule.

Like many teen mothers, Lukas' father isn't involved anymore.

"When Lukas was about two months old I came home and all my stuff was in the living room. He said 'you have until the end of the weekend to get out,'" Saule said.

Teen mothers are less likely to graduate high school.

About one third of teen moms don't get a high school degree or GED.

Robbin did graduate high school and is now in college.

But it's difficult to balance work, school, and being a single parent.

"It is definitely hard but every time I look into my son's eyes I know it's worth it," says Saule.

We met Robbin in Marshfield.

She takes part in the Healthy Birth program at Ministry St. Joseph's hospital.

Patty Heller coordinates the program.

It can be difficult for all mothers to adjust to parenting, but it's harder as a teenager.

"They need to be an adolescent before they can be an adult," says Heller.

Teen moms face changes when it comes to school, work, and even their friendships.

"[I] definitely lost friends a lot of them decided not to be friends with me because we couldn't do a lot of the same stuff together anymore," Saule said.

Many teenagers are dealing with the same hardships as Robbin.

The United States has a very high teen birth rate compared to other countries, but it has declined over the past few years.

Comprehensive sex education could be a contributing factor.

Anne Cirilli works at the Oneida County Health Department.

She provides reproductive health education for people who go to the Reproductive Health Clinic in Rhinelander.

"It's not just abstinence only but it's also teaching them good effective birth control methods," says Cirilli.

But there are still a lot of high school students who aren't learning about birth control.

One in four teenagers in the United States attend schools where they're taught abstinence only, but some research shows that abstinence only programs don't prevent children from having sex.

"Some of the research shows that adolescents in the United States of America are not as good at using contraceptives effectively as you see in other countries," said Heller.

Many parents support comprehensive sex education.

About 90% of parents in the United States want their children to learn about STIs, abstinence, and birth control.

Three quarters of parents believe children should be learning about those topics in middle school.

"The school systems are recognizing this as an important issue and they are teaching comprehensive sexual education," says Cirilli.

Milwaukee is a good example of a city that's lowered its teen birth rates in part because of comprehensive sex education.

The city had the second highest teen birth rate of all cities in America in 2005, but it has turned that around.

Milwaukee's teen birth rate dropped 50% percent from 2006 to 2012.

City programs, changes to the sex education curriculum at Milwaukee Public Schools, and a shocking ad campaign contributed to the decline.

Lowering the teen birth rate can help the community.

"Overcoming poverty is a giant thing for the adolescent pregnant and parenting adolescent," Heller said.

There are people who only go to the health department for pregnancy tests, but there are teenagers that go to avoid getting pregnant.

"Most of them are actually planning to avoid an unplanned pregnancy so that's ideal that we can sit down, go through education, talk about the options," Cirilli said.

Story By: Kaitlyn Howe

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/25/2014

- With only one month left until Christmas, many people will be heading to stores to shop. The busiest shopping days of the year start this week. Some of the stores in Wausau's Center Mall open as early as 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. We talk with the mall's manager to see what they're expecting for holiday shopping.

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We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Students at Zion Lutheran School in Rhinelander got to see two of their teachers dye their hair some of the colors of the rainbow on Monday. That's because students donated 2,000 pounds of food to a local food pantry.

Two students and a teacher also used the occasion to cut their hair for Locks of Love.

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Police arrested Thomas Smith in 2012 after he posted profanity-laced comments on Facebook calling police officers in Arena racists.

He was convicted of disorderly conduct and illegal use of computer communications. A state appeals court tossed out his convictions this past July, ruling Smith's remarks were protected speech under the U.S. Constitution.

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Sheriff: Officer involved in fatal Wisconsin crashSubmitted: 11/25/2014

ASHLAND - Authorities say a squad car from a tribal police department in northern Wisconsin has crashed head on with another vehicle and killed a passenger.

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State police boost patrols around ThanksgivingSubmitted: 11/25/2014

LANSING, MI - Michigan State Police troopers are boosting patrols as part of an effort to keep roads safe for Thanksgiving travelers.

Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, known as Operation CARE, runs Wednesday through Sunday.

Troopers across the state will conduct high-visibility enforcement focusing on impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving and speeding. The extra patrols are paid for with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

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Bill Cosby appearance canceled in Green BaySubmitted: 11/25/2014

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He's been accused of sexual assault by a growing number of women.

Any tickets bought with a credit card will be refunded by December 10th. The show will not be rescheduled.

In recent weeks, more than a dozen women have accused 77-year-old Cosby of sexual assault years ago. Cosby has not been charged in connection with any of the allegations.

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