School Forces Girls to Take Pregnancy Test

The Delhi Charter School in Northeastern Louisiana is under fire by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for their pregnancy policies.

The school’s strict policy states that if a student is pregnant and wants to stay in school, she must study at home. Furthermore, if a student is suspected of being pregnant she is required to take a pregnancy test; if a student refuses the test she is forced to study at home. The school can choose which doctor the student sees.

ACLU executive director Marjorie R. Esman, stated that, “It violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause because “boys who are expecting children — or who are suspected of having engaged in sexual activity — are not similarly treated.” She also referenced Title IX, which requires equal opportunities for both sexes in education and mandates that “pregnant students are entitled to an education free from discrimination.”

This is the policy, directly from the school handbook:

If an administrator or teacher suspects a student is pregnant, a parent conference will be held. The school reserves the right to require any female student to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not the suspected student is in fact pregnant. The school further reserves the right to refer the suspected student to a physician of its choice. 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.

If a student is determined to be pregnant and wishes to continue to attend Delhi Charter School, the student will be required to pursue a course of home study that will be provided by the school… 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 counseled to seek other educational opportunities.

Furthermore, according to Huffington Post, “Overall, high school dropouts cost taxpayers between $320 billion and $350 billion a year in lost wages, taxable income, health, welfare and incarceration costs, among others. Dropouts are also a cost to themselves: of the 3.8 million students that started high school last fall, a quarter won’t earn a diploma. Those who don’t finish will earn $200,000 less than those who do over their lifetime.” Louisiana is ranked 6th for states in teen pregnancy rates. Will forcing teenage girls to take tests out of suspicion and then sending them to home schooling if they are pregnant really help them finish high school?

What do you think? Should a charter school be able to force female students to take pregnancy tests and study at home?

For more information go to CBS News Houston.

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Lisbeth Prifogle, MFA

Lisbeth Prifogle is a freelance writer, Marine officer, and globetrotter currently in San Diego, CA. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles and a BA from DePauw University. Lisbeth spent six months in Iraq and is working on a memoir about her experiences. She keeps a blog titled The Next Bold Move www.lisbethprifogle.com and her work can be found in the 11th issue of Poem Memoir Story, The Splinter Generation, and In the Know Travel. Lisbeth has had problems balancing hormones since she was a teenager and is constantly researching and exploring natural remedies including diet, exercise, and alternative medicines.

3 Comments

  1. If the school is strictly private then (if I’m not mistaken) they can make up whatever rules they want. However a charter school, at least in my understanding still receives public money and is subject to the same rules & regs as any other public school.

    At any rate, I don’t agree and pulling a student out of school to study at home under those conditions should be made by the parent and/or legal guardian. The fact that they’re now stating they didn’t know it was illegal, I find hard to believe.
    At any rate, a school is there to teach the fundamentals. That’s pretty much it. It’s not there to discriminate and it’s certainly not there to ‘ play doctor’ to my children.

    Shame on you Dehli and shame on you Louisiana for not properly running your schools that benefit hugely from taxpayers’ money.

    • It is a charter school and does get public funding. I don’t think I would keep my child at a school (even if private) that treated their young women this way. I would hope my child was more responsible than that, but it happens. If a pregnant teenager wants to go to school, the school should accomodate the challenges she will face, not make it more difficult.

      I really have the biggest issue with the forced pregnancy tests! It reminds me too much of the military where the belief that “perception is reality” is not only accepted, but “perception is enough to make accusations and waste man hours on investigations” is also practiced regularly.

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