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Delhi Charter School Pregnancy Policy: Pee On a Stick or Drop Out

By Diana Stone |

Delhi Charter School forces pregnancy testsThere’s nothing quite like the pressures of high school – catty friends, cliques, the right clothes, wondering if the boy next to you has noticed you’re wearing a new top, homework -

Oh!

and taking that darn forced pregnancy test before you can come back to school.

Right?!

Isn’t that – discrimination?

Delhi Charter School in Louisiana has a school policy (pg. c15) in place that if a female student is suspected of being pregnant, a conference is called, and the school administrators can require the young woman to take a pregnancy test, with the school’s choice of Dr. providing the test.

If the student is indeed pregnant, or simply refuses to take the test at all, they give her a couple of options. Each of these goes for whether or not a pregnancy is proven. Unless you take the test and it’s not. Then it’s all ok. If you are or refuse you can:

If the test indicates that the student is pregnant, the student will not be permitted to attend classes on the campus of Delhi Charter School.

  • quit school
  • homeschool with their curriculum
  • find another school

Again, this is a school. In America. Today. In fact, according to their website, the policy has been in place since 2007. And even if you’re not pregnant and you refuse to take the test – you’ll be asked to homeschool or counseled on other educational options.

So Change.org started a petition to make the school change their policy – and a former teen mom headed the undertaking herself. Natasha Vianna became pregnant as 17 and was forced to transfer from her school. So far she has obtained over 100,000 signatures.

This is discrimination at it’s very worst. We have enough problems with the teen dropout rates and teen pregnancy to make it even harder for girl who become pregnant to finish school. The ACLU says that nearly 70% of teenagers who give birth drop out of high school. And the added humiliation and public disgrace is even worse. The ACLU said the school’s policy violated Title IX of the 1972 federal education law, which requires equal opportunities for both sexes.

The school has had this policy in affect since 2007 and only decided to change it because of the amount of media attention and the petition and the American Civil Liberties Union’s state chapter threatened to sue.

I do understand having a moral code in place in a school. I understand values and principles. What I don’t understand is this: How is punishing a young woman who gets pregnant by refusing her the same type of education she was receiving making anything any better?

Thank goodness for people like Natasha who are willing to take a stand against this sort of thing. For sites like Change.org that make action take place when things are clearly and incredibly unfair to students that find themselves in an already hard situation.

So what do you all think? What detriment does it cause on young women who become pregnant – and their families and child? Why wasn’t a policy put in place to also test her partner(s) and have them leave the school as well if proven the father?

Credit to:

MSNBC.com

Huffington Post

Change.org

———————

Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and their families’ Korean adoption in progress on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances.

Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter and Facebook, and on Pinterest

MORE FROM DIANA:

How Do You Prepare a Biological Child For an Adopted One?

I Put On My Big Girl Panties and We Got Somewhere

Pondering International Adoption? 10 Tips on Choosing an Agency

More on Babble

About Diana Stone

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Diana Stone

Diana Stone blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Read bio and latest posts → Read Diana's latest posts →

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16 thoughts on “Delhi Charter School Pregnancy Policy: Pee On a Stick or Drop Out

  1. Cheri says:

    “How is punishing a young woman who gets pregnant by refusing her the same type of education she was receiving making anything any better?”

    Its the same reason why we have harsh punishments for breaking the law. If you do nothing for a DUI driver, then everyone would be totally cool about driving drunk and there would be no consequences.

    I do not agree with the forced test, that is wrong and violates on so many levels. If the teen is pregnant, then time will tell that just fine.

    I agree with the policy that they would not allow the showing pregnant teens back to the school; however, I think that the school should provide the student with another mode of education through either online schooling, or a program for pregnant and teen mothers so that they can not only finish school, but also be able to be their for their children. And while some girls would be ok with the ridicule and the snickers through the halls, I do think that this creates a distraction to other students that could be harmful to their education.

    There is a fine line between support and acceptance. The school should not have to accept the pregnant teen, but should help in another way to support that student so she is not just dropped.

  2. Laura says:

    Yikes, Cheri! Teen pregnancy, though often undesirable, is not a crime. Punishing a girl who gets knocked up isn’t going to change the rates of teen pregnancy. I spent the first 29 years of my life in Louisiana and thank goodness for my fertility problems because “sex education” in schools in Baton Rouge was nothing beyond a slideshow of STD photos. So I learned to make sure my partner’s genitals didn’t look like cottage cheese was growing out of them, but that’s about it!

    So if you punish the females, what are your plans for the sexually active males? Oh, that’s right, they just get to keep having sex AND attending school. Good for them – that makes sense!

    I’m happy the ACLU is on this one.

  3. Liz says:

    Woah. This is old school like when my mom had to go pregnant scarlet letter lady school.

  4. Bobbi says:

    I actually agree with Cheri. I know it’s not a crime to be a pregnant teen, but I think the fact that we have made it more acceptable as a society has not helped these girls. When teen pregnancy was not socially acceptable girls (and boys) took more precautions and even abstained in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Nowadays I think too many teenagers see it as no big deal and the only ones that really suffer in these situations are the babies of these teenagers. Too many grandparents are becoming 2nd time parents these days. I don’t want my girls thinking its ok to get pregnant in high school. It’s not! That being said, if they find themselves in that very unfortuneate situation we will be supportive, but we will not be celebrating.

  5. Bonnie says:

    This would only be slightly more appropriate if the boy that got the girl pregnant also got kicked out of school. She can not get that way alone.

  6. dana says:

    I am glad the ACLU is stepping in. True, we shouldn’t allow teens to think pregnancy is acceptable, but we shouldn’t be showing that discrimination is acceptable either. One thought I had was that what if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest? Kicking her out of school is just further victimizing her. Also, what do you mean if she is suspected of being pregnant? They have created the potential to kick out a female student based on a rumor.

  7. Cheri says:

    I never said teen pregnancy was a crime, I merely adjacent it to the fact that if you have no punishment for behavior that has the life changing repercussions that a teen pregnancy has; then you essentially accepting the behavior as the norm and by that right, fully allowing teen pregnancy outright.

    I do not agree that that the school has a take it or leave it attitude by a simple test. That is not acceptable at all. If there is no proof that she is pregnant, then there are no grounds for them to enforce any rule or regulation that they may have in regards to teen pregnancy.

    And yes, I think there should be more responsibility put on the girl AND the girl’s parents for that matter. If society gives more power to the woman if she gets pregnant, then by association, the education for girls should be stronger. They do indeed have more at stake than the males. It’s a fact, not an opinion. A boy can run from the pregnancy, girls cannot (other than abortion, even adoption carries more responsibility). The woman in turn provides the majority of care for the newborn, especially if they nurse their child.

    I DO wish that there was a requirement that every school district, or at least an accessible school like education cente that caters to pregnant teens. Getting pregnant should not remove your chances for a good life, but it adds a complication and distraction that normal school settings, especially in the overcrowding of today’s schools, simply cannot afford to take on.

    Indianapolis actually has a school that has bus transportation and everything and it is strickly for teen parents, male and female. They have different class times, daycare, tutors, the works. That is what needs to happen everywhere.

    There NEEDS to be much better sexual education on all levels and there NEEDS to be much more open communication in the home.

  8. Brooke says:

    Go ACLU.
    I really don’t think that teen moms should be kicked out of school simply because they are pregnant. Making them go to another school, ostracizing them? How does that do anyone any good? I seriously doubt that will make another girl stop and think about having sex… Hormones and teen psychology being what it is, both girls and boys have a very “it will never happen to me” attitude and consequences like getting tossed out of school are not forefront in their minds in the heat of the moment.
    More education, more access to birth control for boys and girls…
    And no more discriminating against girls for simply having a uterus.

  9. Tracy says:

    As a teacher who taught 4 years in an Alternative Education setting, seeing many teen moms come and go, I’ve definitely got my two cents to provide here.

    First: It’s not glorifying teen pregnancy by allowing teen moms a great education. Charter schools are set up within the public school realm to provide what regular public schools struggle too. For many students, being able to attend a charter school is a blessing and they have far more resources than a traditional school to help out teens who find themselves in this situation.

    Second: I have seen many pregnant girls come and go in school. And I have to say that the ones that have the support and stick through it to graduate, are far better off than those who drop out. Yes it is hard for them to complete school while managing pregnancy/young kids and a lot of the times also holding down a job, but giving them access to a high school diploma is the key they need to being successful in this highly competitive world. So why would a school decide they won’t support these teen moms? If this school denies them the chances for them to succeed in home school or take the time to find another school who is willing to accept them will not only seem way more daunting, but it could cloud their judgment to think they are not worthy of an education because they got pregnant.

    Third: Why the hell is it moreso the girl’s responsibility and her family than the boy’s? WHY? Cheri? WHY? There is birth control for girls and condoms for boys. It’s very cliche, but yes, it does take two to tango.

    Fourth: Cheri you saying being pregnant is a distraction for overcrowded public schools…what about a student with a disability? Should they be removed from a traditional setting b/c of their possibility of distracting students? Should students who decide to dye their hair red be removed from a public school b/c it could be distracting? I think the word “normal” is not fair. What is normal anyways? Why don’t we focus our attention to providing more funds to our state’s education fund to combat overcrowded schools vs. discriminating against the “not normal” kids?

    Of course I would be heart broken if my daughter got pregnant as a teenager, but it would be that much more important for her to continue with school and I would support her as much as I could to allow her to see that being a young mom does not give her a death sentence.

  10. Cheri says:

    First: Yes, it takes 2 to tango, but it takes only ONE to say no. It takes only one of them to decide that their body and their life is more important then a roll in the hay. It takes the parents of their children to teach them this and education more then what the schools are doing.
    Second: comparing a teen with a disability, that they were more then likely born with, can not compare to the poor decision making on a teens part. Disability is not a choice, getting pregnant IS.
    Third: Yes, i do believe that a school with stricter dress codes, who do not allow crazy unnatural hair color, and keep things on an even keel ARE better. They take the distraction out of ‘omg what am i going to wear today” and allows them to better focus on their schooling. I have gone to both a public school and a private catholic school, and the differences were night and day. I never said normal, but there is neutral, keeping kids on a more neutral setting so they all have the same expectations.
    Fourth: I AM a mother, and I did 90% of the work as a pregnant woman. All my husband could do was sit there and wait for our child to come out. After that, while I was nursing, there was little more the diaper changing that he did. A woman has way more PHYSICAL responsibility for a child then a man does before the child is born. A girl should very much have more information and power at her disposal so that she understand the consequences of getting pregnant. The father, as i said, can always run away. At 9 weeks pregnant, she could be a single mother in a heartbeat. THAT is not fair, but until the young boys of the world are taught that they need to stand up and be fathers, the girls are stuck whether they want to be mothers or not. GIRLS have no choice (other than abortion)…they have to spend 9 months with a child inside them, they have to birth that child….they do all the work.
    MOST IMPORTANTLY – I never ever said to just drop the girl. But there is nothing wrong for a private school to mandate that they will not accept a pregnant teen. My state has a phenominal program for teen PARENTS. With a proof of pregnancy from the doctor, both the mother and father can transfer to this program that is set up more like a college class then high school…There is a daycare for the ones that already have children. They can stay at the program until they finish high school, with a high school diploma. The benefit of this is not only are they getting free care for their children so they can go to school, but they are also among other teens that they can relate to, they have group therapy available and there are more specialize help for them that a NORMAL school can not provide. There needs to be a nation wide program like this in all the large cities so that these girls so not slip through the cracks. But I do not agree with them being in regular class. They are a distraction, they will get teased, they will not have a support system that will understand what they are going through.
    I have also NEVER agreed that they should force the pregnancy test. That is totally over the line. If the girl is showing however, the the regulation should kick in at that time.

  11. Brandi says:

    If I pay taxes, then you WILL educate my child the same as others. Its not the schools right to “punish” the girl for bad choices. Thats a lesson to be learned as their life changes to become a mother. This is a sexist rule because it doesnt seem to state that anything happens to the fathers.

  12. Lexi conklin says:

    Let me start off by saying a little about me. I’m 19, a single college student, and I have a one year old son. I got pregnant in high school and although I had my son after I graduated it doesn’t change my opinion on this. Teen pregnancy is not a crime. To those who are requesting punishments for the pregnant teens, walking around getting harassed daily and ridiculed and made fun of for being pregnant was punishment enough. It is not a schools job to judge, or punish a pregnant student. Their only job is to educate in a safe environment. And by not allowing a student to go to school because of a pregnancy will leave some with no other option than to drop out. We should accept and encourage these girls to finish their education to better provide for these girls. Not only would some girls drop out I’m sure many girls would get abortions so they would stay in school. This is truly disgusting and I hope their policy changes. Sincerely, a teen mother.

  13. Ashley Price says:

    This is truly sickening. I feel so sorry for the girls that attend this school and have to tolerate this level of official humiliation. I went to a small country school and it was the same. As soon as a pregnant student started to “show”, she was expelled. A girl I knew actually just finished her GED at age 26 because she was expelled her senior year. It’s so sad.

    Having said that, the real problem with teen pregnancies in this country is sex education. Instead of teaching about birth control all the schools preach is abstinence, abstinence, abstinence! NEVER in the history of humankind has abstinence actually worked. There might be 2 or 3 students out of 100 that will abstain until marriage, but the rest of the students won’t. When will we learn that educating young people about proper birth control is a GOOD thing?!

  14. Beth Anne says:

    ::horror face at the woman who says it takes one to say no::

    I just can’t get over that part to even comment further.

  15. sam says:

    I can understand this policy. I was in high school in the 90′s and my school had a similar policy. It was more about everyone being a peer role model for success. We also had sex education and not that lame abstinence program. So it was about the choices that you made for your life and taking responsibility for your actions. If you chose to have sex you needed to be responsible about it and if you couldn’t make good choices you were not a good role model by being a teen parent and asked to leave the school.

  16. Kendall says:

    Being a teen mother is already difficult enough. Often times, teen mothers are also single mothers trying to support their child in the best way they know how. I’ve seen one too many teen mothers that their families refuse to help them because of what they have done. I don’t believe that this school should be allowed to make a student drop out because she refuses to take a pregnancy test or is indeed pregnant. Education is something someone should never be able to take from you and is very important. Some of these young mothers will never get an education higher than high school in the first place. This school should stop in and interveen and give them opportunities and guidance in these situations. I am sure their counselors have plenty of resources they can refer these girls to. The social aspect of high school is just as important and the education part of it in many ways. I can understand the home schooling option after the birth of the child but not while she is pregnant unless she chose to do so. I also agree with Bonnie–if they are going to kick these girls out or make them get home schooled, better find that boy that put this girl in the situation. It may have been a pure mistake–lack of a health education–or either of the teens faults. Nonetheless it takes two!

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