Posts Tagged ‘the Constitution’

By Jude Wells, Grade 11

Other than STD’s and contracting HIV, there is another great risk that is carried when it comes to teenage sex: teenage pregnancy. 1 out of 3 women under the age of 20 in South Africa have a child. That statistic and many personal stories that you may know, highlights the prevalence of teenage pregnancy and therefore the prevalence of its negative consequences. But now there is another risk facing pregnant teens in South Africa, an unfair risk: the risk of losing their education.

And that is why we will kick you out of school...Really?

And that is why we will kick you out of school…Really?

Two schools in the Free State have adopted a policy which allows their school to expel and bar pregnant girls from coming to school. After the policy was challenged in court, the court later ruled in favour of the school. The school’s policy is now being challenged in the constitutional court. It is rather ironic that this case has been taken up all the way to the constitutional court since girls’ right to education is a right granted by our constitution. What could these judges possibly be discussing? Whether pregnant girls are no longer applicable to our constitution? Their right to an education should never, and under no circumstances, be taken away from them.

Although some may argue for this policy, saying that it should be implemented for practical, medical and emotional purposes.  Just because it might take a little extra effort from the school, and the pregnant girls, it is not sufficient grounds to deny her education. Although other students might feel uncomfortable being around a pregnant girl it is important to remember that the she probably feels much worse. It is the girl who has to deal with the emotional stress of being pregnant in a context of social judgement. It would also be absurd to think that by the mere fact that a girl is pregnant that she is actively disrupting somebody else’s education.

Most of the negative socio-economic effects associated with teenage pregnancy can be attributed to their lack of education due to dropping out of school. Why are we not encouraging teenage girls to get an education? Instead there are schools who wish to forcefully push them away. This is just exacerbating the problems that teenage girls face. It does not make any sense to take away the solution which could lessen the negative effects of teenage pregnancy. With an education young mothers will have an opportunity to provide a better life for their child.

Teenage pregnancy remains a sensitive topic in South Africa, and all over the world. However, we cannot use our sensitivity towards this issue and our judgements  and turn a blind eye to the danger that is looming, pending the outcome of the Constitutional Court. If the court rules in favour the schools governing body, there could be a dangerous precedent set for other schools around the country.

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