BRANDSEN, ARGENTINA — It was a small act of kindness: A schoolteacher in the Coronel Brandsen district outside of Buenos Aires held a baby in class so her teenage mother could study in peace. Federico Tenreyro said he offered to hold the infant while teaching in order to help dissuade his pupil, Ludmila Disante, from any thought of dropping out of school to raise a child.
Tenreyro didn't just hold the baby, Pilar, but also sang and cradled her to sleep, allowing Disante to write about her political economy course work. It evidently meant the world to her; Disante published a Facebook post about it, making her teacher an instant celebrity.
The teacher said the attention and calls from reporters has left him "surprised and emotional," tellingClarín: "I keep a low profile and initially I was a little frightened by so many calls, but I'd like the viral incident to encourage students to finish [secondary] school."
Tenreyro is also no stranger to caring for infants, as he has five children of his own.
70,000 teenage moms in Argentina
Besides teaching history at Brandsen's private Santa Rita de Cascia high school, Tenreyro is also a volunteer firefighter on weekends.
To her Facebook friends, Disante had written, "all schools should have teachers like this, so girls who are moms and want to finish school can do it. Really, I don't know what to say to thank this teacher."
The Argentine Health Ministry estimates some 70,000 teenagers give birth each year, in 70% of cases unplanned, which often leads the young mothers to interrupting their education.
Tenreyro is not the first teacher to go viral for a similar thoughtful act for a young mother-student, though the others were at university level with math professor in Atlanta, Georgia and a professor of geomatics in Senegal.
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