A Louisiana charter school has this awesome policy (that is not sexist or discriminatory at all) where they can force girls they suspect are pregnant to take a pregnancy tests. Then, what’s even more awesome, is the fact that they can kick those girls out of school if the test comes back positive. Because you know, girls who are pregnant have cooties and should shamefully be “expecting” in the privacy of their own home.
According to the Delhi Charter School, it’s their policy to require girls who they believe to be with child (in other words, whose bellies are growing–how body-shaming is that?) to take a pregnancy test. Then, if she is indeed pregnant–and not just fat–she gets kicked out of school:
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.
Not only is it highly discriminatory, but it raises all sorts of issues about exactly how a teacher will “suspect” a student is pregnant. Like, putting on weight, wearing baggy clothes or knowing that she is sexually active. This places a lot of judgmental power in a teacher’s hand, and opens girls up to all sorts of shaming. Not to mention that it violates the Title IX, which bans discrimination based on gender in educational programs, as well as the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution.
Marjorie Esman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, told TODAY.com that this clearly is discriminatory:
The policy discriminates against female students not just for being pregnant but even for the possibility that they might be pregnant, and treats them as though pregnancy was some kind of contagious disease by telling them they can’t stay in school. That is a gross violation of the law and their right to have an education.
Esman went on to say that schools need to look at pregnancy as a health issue–not a moral issue, which they have no business in judging:
What a school should do is treat pregnancy as any other medical condition and allow the student to participate fully in anything that she’s medically capable of participating in.
Luckily, the Louisiana State Department of Education got wind of this policy and is stepping in to try to change it.
Meanwhile, the boys who get the girls pregnant get to stay in school and continue having sex and getting more girls pregnant.