Editorial: Younger teens join work force

Photo by Aerin Johnson Junior Maddie Pokorny collects carts as part of her job at the local Schnucks.
Junior Maddie Pokorny collects carts as part of her job at the local Schnucks. (Photo by Aerin Johnson)

When hard times come, everyone in the family must pitch in to maintain a decent living. Even the teens must go into the work force, but are they too young?
As times get harder, more and more teenagers are starting to join work force. We’re talking 14 and 15 year olds.
Having to juggle homework, school, and a job requires commitment. It also puts a lot of stress on students, especially those 14 and 15, year, old freshman who just transitioned into high school.
According to labor.mo.gov, acceptable work hours for 14 and 15 year olds while school is in session is no more than eight hours on non-school days and no more than three on school days and no more than six days a week. While school is out of session, all requirements are the same. Also, students may not work during school hours, unless the youth has been permanently excused from school.
“As far as being emotionally ready, I think that most 14 and 15 year olds are emotionally ready to start taking on more responsibilities, but it really varies from one teen to the next what they are ready for,” said Anne Gibbs, crisis counselor, about whether young teens are emotionally ready to work.
Gibbs said a lot of factors should be considered like is the teen able to manage his or her time and make sure that homework is completed, and he/she is keeping grades up at school? Is the teen able to make informed and appropriate decisions under pressure at his/her work if the manager or supervisor is not available? Can the teen make wise choices with his/her money (saving money, planning out how he/she will make a paycheck last until the next pay day, resisting spending money on unnecessary or unhealthy items)?
There’s one day out the week where the student doesn’t have to work, by law, one day to make up homework and for other personal needs.
Fourteen and 15 year olds shouldn’t have to worry about money or work hours. They should be worrying about the next math quiz and what they’re going to wear for school the next day.
Fourteen and 15 year olds are too young to work and shouldn’t have to.

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