New Delhi charter school in Louisiana recently came under fire for forcing its teenage students to submit to pregnancy tests, and kicking out those students who tested positive or refused the test. From Slate, the school’s official policy: “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.”
(FYI: Any student suspected of being pregnant 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,” it said. But who’s to say the girls have parents capable of home-schooling?)
After the recent lawsuit from the ACLU, which believes the rule violates federal law requiring equal opportunity for education between the sexes, the school has stated “in light of the recent inquiry, the current policy has been forwarded to the law firm of Davenport, Files & Kelly in Monroe, Louisiana, to ensure that necessary revisions are made so that our school is in full compliance with the constitutional law.” School Board chairman Albert Christman has said that no one at the school realized anything was wrong until the lawsuit. It’s not clear yet whether a change in policy would reinstate previous students who had been forced to leave. If the school does revamp its policy to allow pregnant students to stay, there is no guarantee that pregnant teens at the school will find themselves in a supportive environment, but it will at least be a huge step forward for their chances at an education.