A public school in Louisiana has posted a school policy that is in direct violation of federal law, and the ACLU has issued a warning to the school to drop the policy or face legal consequences. The ACLU letter may be viewed HERE.
According to the Delhi Charter School’s own aptly titled Student Pregnancy Policy, the school, which receives public funding, intends to openly act in violation of the Title IX law that forbids schools from excluding female students from “any class or extracurricular activity on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom.” The school also intends to violate student’s rights to procreate and to receive equal protection under the law, which are both guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. Under the 14th Amendment, it is illegal to subject girls to requirements that boys are not held to.
In an official policy reminiscent of the virginity examinations that have been prosecuted as unlawful even in many countries where women have few rights, the school’s policy states that if a female student is suspected of being pregnant, she will have to be examined by a physician of the school’s choice. If she is determined to be pregnant, or if she refuses the examination, she will no longer be allowed to attend school. Should the student wish to remain enrolled in the school, she will have to do her work at home, excluded from the rest of the student body.
The policy does not directly state a reason for shunning pregnant students. However, the fact that male students are not subject to being banned from attending campus regardless of the number of children they father makes it clear that pregnant girls are considered pariahs who deserve to be forced to display scarlet badges of shame while the boys who fathered their unborn children deserve to maintain their social status.
In light of the fact that more than two-thirds of teenaged students who have babies end up leaving school, U.S. social policy has long focused on increasing support for pregnant teenagers and encouraging them to remain in school. Pregnant teenagers face numerous barriers to finishing their educations. Illegal discrimination is still one of the barriers that work together to prevent young mothers from achieving their potential.
If you are a California school administrator with a question about student/teacher safety, special education, accommodations, student rights, free speech or discipline, or school employment law, feel free to call attorney Richard Oppenheim at 818-461-8500. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and we can help you choose the best direction to resolve any school district issue.