US school ends classroom ban on pregnant students

Pregnancy test The school had required students testing positive to be home-taught

A US school in Louisiana has said it will change a policy that forces students suspected of being pregnant to take a test, and then bans them from class if found pregnant.

The move comes after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue.

No-one at the Delhi Charter School in rural north-east Louisiana realised the policy was wrong, said its chairman.

Students found pregnant and wanting to carry on with their studies had to be home-schooled, the rules said.

School board chairman Albert Christman said the policy has got "everybody up in a roar".

On Tuesday, the ACLU wrote to the school, saying the policy violated a section of the 1972 federal education law, which requires equal opportunities for both sexes.

The policy says: "Any student who is suspected of being pregnant and who refuses to submit to a pregnancy test shall be treated as a pregnant student and will be offered home study opportunities. If home study opportunities are not acceptable, the student will be counselled to seek other educational opportunities."

Mr Christman said "just a handful" of students had been affected by the policy, which dates to 2006.

All of them "came back to school and finished their school," he said.

Too many schools do not realise pregnant students should receive equal treatment, the US National Women's Law Center said in a June report.

"Despite enormous advances for women and girls in education since 1972, schools across the country continue to bar pregnant and parenting students from activities, kick them out of school, pressure them to attend alternative programmes, and penalise them for pregnancy-related absences," the centre said in the report.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    This policy was ridiculous. It's already hard enough for a teen who has a baby to finish school because of her responsibilities to her child, and even harder for her to attain a worthwhile career while her child is young so she can provide for him. Many girls end up relying on their parents to watch the child while they work fast food jobs, and that's no good for anyone involved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    You Brits don't understand anything about how the U.S. government works.

    Every state has its own government and is free to impose its own laws. That's why some states have legal gay marriage and other states ban gay marriage. It's not up to the Federal government to force its views on the states --unless ruled by the Supreme Court.

    So some states in U.S. are gonna be liberal & some conservative

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Why should they study at school ?

    What about the extra legal and insurance complexities for the school . . what if the girl trips over, loses her baby and sues the school ?

    It's a distraction for other kids. She should stay at home.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    In theory - if they ban the girl, they should ban the boy (assuming the two are in the same school) - and then see what uproar that will really make. Incredible that in the world's freest country, there is such blatant sexism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Did all pregnant teachers have to go home too?

    Since when was being pregnant - a perfectly normal thing - a bar to continuing normal life? Which includes attending school or workplace as appropriate. It's nothing to do with sexism, it is just plain daft!


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