A Louisiana charter school’s policy on pregnant students has caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the organization is now threatening to sue. The ACLU alleges that the Delhi Charter School has been discriminating against teenage girls by requiring them to take pregnancy tests. If a student is suspected of being pregnant and refuses to take a pregnancy test, the school’s policy allows for the students to be suspended from school, denied the opportunity to home school, and the student’s enrollment is terminated.
The school’s procedure is outlined in its student 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.
Although these guidelines are outlined in the school’s handbook, the ACLU charges that these rules are in blatant violation of federal law under Title IX statutes.
Title IX was established to protect citizens from discrimination on the basis of sex. The statue states that no person shall be excluded or denied benefits under any education programs because of gender.
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance
The Washington Post spoke with ACLU executive director Marjorie R. Esman, who emailed school administrators about the policy earlier this week. Esman was told that they were reviewing the issue, and would get back.
Esman told the Post that she was pleased with the response and that this was a good sign. “I take that as a good sign — that they’re taking this seriously,” she said.
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