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 41.

    If you were disingenuous you could argue that the school prefers that pregnant girls have an abortion (in secret, of course) to continue their studies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Would it be cynical of me to suspect that the school in question did not provide sex education, so that kids don't know how to avoid getting pregnant?

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    I am a US citizen living in the UK. I am horrified that any school in the US had such a policy. However, the UK is not as free as many here state. The UK has taken a turn for the worse - freedom from double jeopardy, self-incrimination, unreasonable search and seizure, detention w/o trial all have taken a hit. Other freedoms have been curtailed as well (e.g., assembly & peaceful protest).

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    It's amazing how you Brits blow a small story out-of-proportion. This lawsuit is against ONE school in the DEEP rural South. It was probably a private school (not a public school). Don't compare one city with all of USA

    I can do the same with Europe. Abortion is banned in Poland & Ireland... so that must mean all of Europe is full of crazy religious extremists? That's how stupid u Brits sound...

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

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

    Trust me, we *do* understand that. We just think it's a really bad system that you would only be happy with if you were reaping the benefits of privilege. Allowing equality to be dictated by state level governments is disgusting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    That would be murder. In many states there is something called the "duty to retreat", which means that one may only claim self-defense if it is determined that the defendant was incapable of removing him/herself from the conflict. It must also be ascertained that the defendant had reasonable fear of serious injury or death for themselves or someone else at the scene.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Wow, another step into the world of choices and no consequences.
    So getting knocked up now means, em, nothing?
    The rule was fair, if you get knocked up, you stay at home, it's bad example to other kids, plus it might undermine the care for the unborn child.
    If the guy is from the same school, he should be sent home too.
    But hey, let's let them have it both ways, in case they want to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    child to be permitted to complete her education, enabling her to make a better life for herself and her child, instill a work ethic in her offspring and support them in turn in their own education and future. To those using the religious angle - "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    #25 'And you Brits think that your country is free? Hmm let's see

    -Guns are banned in the UK'
    So, in the event of a fender-bender I am free to dispute whose fault it is with the other guy without him claiming his ''right' to stand his ground and shoot me in self-defence.
    So, I have the most fundamental freedom: freedom to breath.
    Checkout homicide rates in London and Los Angeles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    @ProudAmerican: Not sure what you have to be proud of? I'm a Brit living in the US and this country is so backwards it's ridiculous. "Land of the Free"? Wow, the government, at both the federal and state level, has its greedy little hands in everything, controls everything, and bans anything it wants. You may as well rename your country cause it's certainly not United!

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.


    There's no less censorship in the US than we have in the UK (and I'll take censorship of violence over censorship of sex anyday!), and I'm pretty sure you can be just as intolerant with roughly the same consequences (i.e. none unless you're really unlucky/stupid).

    I doubt you'll persuade any Brit that their freedom is being seriously infringed by not being able to carry a gun, but hey.

  • 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 29.

    The policy suggests very stupid people are in charge!

    Unplanned pregnancies amongst school aged girls is largely the result of inadequate education, (in the wider sense). Throwing them out of school is unfair and counter productive.

    Penalising the school for inadequate sex education might make better sense, (though not a lot better).

    Now let's wait to see the lawyers start suing the school!

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Schools should do everything to encourage teens, pregnant or not, to finish their education rather than put additional stumbling blocks their way. I was aghast when I read that a predominantly minorities students' school district in Texas was criminalizing minor school infractions giving these students criminal record that would hunt them for life. Equal justice appear to be for some, not for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    So-called "sex education", in reality a kind of state-sponsored 'grooming' of vulnerable children, reaches its evil, molesting fingers into the *primary school classrooms* of this country. Children as young as 7 are shown creepy animated representations of the mechanics of sex. Those responsible should face lengthy prison sentences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    23. It's true that America varies greatly from state to state. I think that's part of the problem, actually. It shouldn't be the case that the "red states" can introduce whatever misogynistic nonsense they like and people aren't even surprised by it anymore. I know big government is anathema to a lot of Americans, but some things are too important to leave to small governments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    And you Brits think that your country is free? Hmm let's see

    -Guns are banned in the UK

    -Violent video games & movies are banned in the UK

    -Free Speech is banned in the UK (a simple phrase such as "I dislike Muslims" is considered hate speech in Europe and punishable by 6 months in prison)

    And now the British Prime Minister wants to censor your internet of pornography unless the user "opts-in"

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    These weird practices seem to spring up a lot in the US. The warped view of sex education is only rivalled by some other African countries.

    They're just not the world leader they think they are, especially when it comes to the rights of vulnerable groups.

    This is what too much religion does to a country, it ruins the chance of societal progression.

    Those young ladies have my sympathy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    It's interesting how many Europeans pat themselves on the back after seeing a story like this. The US has a heterogeneous population that varies widely based on location - ie New England is going to have very different values from the deep south. Feel free to continue looking down your nose in condescension as is your right and tradition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    America doesn't want to teach its kids anything about sex. I guess having a pregnant girl in class undermines that for them.


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