With recent studies showing teen pregnancy costs the U.S. some $7 billion each year, one charter school in Louisiana decided to do something about it. Now the Louisiana charter school is being sued for a pregnancy policy that is in violation of students’ rights.
Louisiana education officials are currently preparing a lawsuit against the Delhi Charter School for their pregnancy policy. The charter school’s pregnancy policy bans students from class if they are pregnant and forces students to undergo mandatory tests under suspicion of being pregnant.
In a few words, the Delhi Charter School’s policy on student pregnancy is simple: either study at home or simply leave school. It might sound like a policy 50 years old for most people, but the state-funded school doesn’t seem to understand the issues about discrimination and dismissing students’ rights to education.
Albert Christman, president of the school’s board, said nobody knew there was a discrimination issue with their pregnancy policy. “We’re doing the best we can. When someone points out a mistake, we fix it” added Christman.
“We thought it would be best to make sure we don’t have pregnant girls that might get jostled or be criticized and subjected to verbal comments. What we ended up doing was not the best thing” said Christman. “We are going to fix it” the board president added.
Former principal Steve Gaharan said of the Delhi Charter School’s pregnancy policy that it “is quite unusual and punishing to the young lady; however the young man can strut along, continue in school and compete in or participate in all extracurricular activities”. Gaharan was forced to resign earlier this year by the board as principal of the Delhi Charter School.
In a letter published by Today.com, Louisiana state officials ask the school to come up with a pregnancy policy that “does not discriminate against pregnant students or students perceived to be pregnant”. Authorities say the pregnancy policy should not “require any student to take a pregnancy test” under no circumstances.
Marjorie Esman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, said the pregnancy policy at the Louisiana Charter School violates the Education Amendments of 1972. Esman added a school should “treat pregnancy as any other medical condition and allow the student to participate fully in anything that she’s medically capable of participating in”.