The High School Teachers Ending Child Marriage in Pennsylvania

In recent years, Pennsylvania has seen a movement rise alongside the dedication of educators who are determined to end child marriage in the state. A group of high school teachers from various institutions has collaborated and taken significant steps to raise awareness about the issue and create a change within their communities.

Child marriage, a longstanding global issue, particularly affects young girls who are typically married off before they are physically, emotionally, or mentally prepared for such a life-altering commitment. This practice often deprives them of essential aspects of their development and future opportunities.

Recognizing the dire need to tackle this problem, high school teachers from Pennsylvania have initiated an inter-school collaboration to launch educational programs and drive legislative support for banning child marriage within the state. These efforts come at a crucial juncture when statistics reveal that almost 1300 minors were married in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2018.

The innovative teachers have designed classroom programs that help students understand the consequences of child marriage on society. They engage students in discussions covering topics such as human rights, gender equality, education, health, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development. These efforts not only increase awareness about child marriage but also stimulate critical thinking among students and inspire them to stand up against this social malpractice.

These educators have also partnered with local nonprofits like Unchained At Last—an organization dedicated to unveiling stories of marriage survivors and advocating for child marriage bans across the United States. Together, they aspire to achieve policy changes on a local and national level, urging lawmakers to push forward legislation outlawing underage marriages.

Pennsylvania high school teachers’ unwavering dedication became apparent when they turned their cause into action with Bill SB-81. This monumental bill aimed at ending child marriage by setting the legal minimum age for getting married to 18 without any exceptions. Their efforts bore fruit as Governor Tom Wolf signed it into law on June 22nd, 2021, making Pennsylvania the sixth state to completely ban child marriage.

While their recent victory formalizes a substantial achievement, these passionate educators intend to continue their work. By expanding their programs to schools in other states and collaborating with more organizations, they hope to foster an environment where child marriage becomes a distant memory across the nation. This group of high school teachers serves as an inspiration for educators and showcases the significant impact they can have in championing social change.

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