Traumatised girls who fall pregnant need schools to be safe spaces where they feel supported, teachers told the conference of the ATL section of the National Education Union (NEU). The Independent reports.
During a heated debate in Liverpool, Jennifer Marchant, from Derby and Derbyshire, said many students still did not have the information they needed to make their own decisions about abortions.
She said: “Many students come from backgrounds where either it is not discussed at home or it’s just discussed incorrectly, whether through a lack of parental knowledge or whether through a cultural bias.
“We are educators first and foremost and we need to make sure students have got the best, accurate information possible so they can make their choice.”
The union will now lobby government to ensure that reproductive rights and women’s health are taught as an “essential element” of the secondary school curriculum by trained teachers.
But not all delegates of the union were in favour of the motion. Trevor Cope, a teacher from Devon, said he could not support the motion as he did not want to express his own opinions in the classroom.
Some delegates attempted to shut down the debate around whether the union should adopt a “pro-choice position” on abortion rights for people in all regions of the UK – but they were thwarted.
“It is about pro-choice. We are not asking anyone to promote abortion in their schools or colleges.”
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