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Pregnant students have a right to be educated like everybody else

The Teen Parents Support Programme is horrified at the attitude to, and treatment of, a young mother by a Tipperary secondary school.

While most schools are very supportive of pregnant and parenting students, in the experience of the Teen Parents Support Programme, discrimination of this kind — albeit less overt — is not uncommon.

Young people who become parents have a right to complete their education so as to make the best possible life for themselves and their children.

The connection between early school-leaving and long-term poverty is undisputed. Only last week, Ms Burton released Understanding Childhood Deprivation in Ireland, a joint publication of the Department of Social Protection and the ESRI. This report showed that childhood deprivation is connected not to the age at which the mother gave birth but to her level of education.

Parenthood often motivates young mothers to remain in or return to school, as was the case with this young woman. This takes courage and determination and they deserve to be supported in whatever way they need.

The Teen Parents Support Programme, in co-operation with schools in Limerick, has developed Supporting students who are pregnant and those who are parents within our education system — Guidelines for Best Practice and has distributed them to all secondary level schools in the country.

These are available at www.tpsp.ie.

The Teen Parents Support Programme welcomes Minister Quinn’s intention to develop guidelines in relation to school admission policies and trusts that these guidelines will ensure that pregnancy or parenthood can never again prevent a young mother from completing her education.

Margaret Morris

National Co-ordinator Teen Parents Support Programme

Treoir14

Gandon House

IFSC

Dublin 1


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