A matter of trust

15th September 2000 at 01:00
A 15-YEAR-OLD pupil, who appears to be suffering from depression, has asked me, her head, to accompany her to visit her GP, but, on no account, to inform her parents. Should I agree?

THERE is no reason why you should not, and every reason why you should.

Your first concern must always be for your pupils'

welfare; if this girl is really depressed, she needs the help of her doctor as well as her school.

The law regards adolescents as "mature minors", capable o taking decisions about themselves, including health matters, without the involvement of their parents, if that is their wish.

Of course, a responsible teacher would seek to persuade a pupil to talk to his or her parents, but too often family relationships have broken down and such communication is impossible.

It is a tribute to the professional care given by teachers that pupils turn to them with their troubles and it is a trust which should be respected.

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