Delhi Charter School in Louisiana overturned a policy of suspending students who were pregnant, and forcing students suspected of being pregnant to get tested. Just think about that for a moment. Right up there with fighting and drug use is “getting pregnant”.
Two great quotes:
No one at Delhi Charter School in rural northeast Louisiana realized there was anything wrong with the policy until the American Civil Liberties Union’s state chapter threatened to sue …
Because, you know, it really isn’t wrong until someone files a lawsuit. Until then, its pretty much anything goes.
Louisiana Department of Education spokesman Barry Landry said he did not know the state’s policies for pregnant students or whether they apply to private and religious schools getting tuition vouchers.
I won’t be too pointed. This spokesperson was likely asked a question on the run, and didn’t quite have the information. Still, you would think that it would be good and get back to a reporter with this information. Also, you would hope it would be “yes”.
Pregnancy in any situation can be prickly. With teens that gets ramped up by a factor of a hundred. I will be the first to say that schools need to walk a very fine line between celebrating (something that happened at a former school I taught at, and sent a verypoor message to the kids), and counseling students on the best options for them and their expanding family. That said, there is a world of difference between saying “it is likely best for you and your family (and the students at the school) that you consider leaving until you are in a better position to learn” and “get out”.
This is the issues with charter schools. Charter schools work with very little oversight, and often with far less experience than public schools (and other private schools). I don’t want to paint broadly here: not all charter schools would likely do this, but schools given an enormous amount of power with very little public accountability are bound to make some pretty bad mistakes. The article notes that prior to the lawsuit, other students had been suspended over this.
Flat out, this is not the message we need to be sending.