Louisiana charter school totally illegally kicks out students for becoming pregnant

You know what is illegal? Suspending students for being pregnant. But apparently a school in Louisiana didn’t get the memo. My colleague Kate Sheppard at MoJo reports:

A public charter school in Louisiana is getting national attention for requiring female students to take pregnancy tests if they are suspected of being pregnant and, if they are, forcing them to leave school. The ACLU of Louisiana sent a letter to the Delhi Charter School on Monday arguing that the policy is unconstitutional and “in clear violation of federal law.”

Delhi is a kindergarten through 12th grade public school in a town by the same name in northeastern Louisiana. Its “student pregnancy policy” states that the school seeks to ensure that students “exhibit acceptable character traits”—and in order to do so, allows the school to force any “suspected student” to take a pregnancy test.

If the students are pregnant or if they simply refuse to take the pregnancy test–which they damn well should, since it is such a hugely unacceptable violation of privacy to require such a thing!–they will be forced to go on home study.

The ACLU notes that this policy is a clear violation of Title IX–which, among many other wonderful things, explicitly protects pregnant and parenting teens’ right to education–and the equal protection clause of the constitution.

Also, it is not the 1950s anymore. Students sometimes get pregnant–whether intentionally or not–and instead of retro shaming tactics, they deserve support to continue their schooling. They also have a right to it.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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