“I encourage educators to create safe spaces:” WA Superintendent addresses leaked Roe v. Wade reversal draft

Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. —  For decades, Roe v. Wade has maintained federal protection for abortion rights in the United States. With leaked reports indicating the Supreme Court may strike down that decision, Washington Superintendent Chris Reykdal considers how this will impact the state’s classrooms.

In a statement released in the wake of these reports, Reykdal noted that it would be “short-sighted for me to believe that my job starts and ends within the walls of our classrooms.”

Knowing that Washington state’s older students will be interested in discussing this controversial decision, Reykdal encouraged educators to provide safe spaces for students to partake in respectful dialogue.

READ: What’s at stake as Supreme Court appears intent on overturning Roe v. Wade?

This way, different viewpoints can be exchanged in a civilized manner so that participating students can broaden their understanding of this report’s ramifications.

He trusts Washington state educators to facilitate conversation—including those delving into controversial topics—in a thoughtful and empathetic fashion.

“While I have opinions and responsibilities related to content areas such as reading, math, science, and physical education, education leaders are also undeniably invested in the future of our young people and in the well-being of our families,” Reykdal said. “If this draft majority opinion holds, the young people in our nation’s schools today will be the first in nearly half a century to enter adulthood without the federally protected basic human right of choosing if, when, and how to start a family.”

If Roe v. Wade is struck down, state leaders would secure the power to put harsh restrictions on abortions that would restrict a woman’s right to choose whether or not to begin a family. Without federal protections in place, Superintendent Reykdal believes there will be harmful consequences for children and families in Washington state and in the United States at large.

READ: With abortion in jeopardy, minority women have most to lose

Reykdal also highlights how restricting a young woman’s right to choose could systemically restrict her economic prospects. Whether it be by limiting career paths or the ability to see an education through, Reykdal believes taking away a woman’s right to choose is highly consequential.

“As the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court move forward in their final deliberations, I hope they will think deeply about whether they want to go down in history as the group of individuals responsible for stripping the American people of a right and freedom that has been constitutionally protected for nearly 50 years,” Reykdal said.

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