A US high school has banned a student from participating in her graduation because she’s pregnant, citing it as a symptom of “sexual immorality”.
Maddi Runkles attends Heritage Academy, a private Christian institution in Maryland, and is 25 weeks pregnant.
As a result, the school has claimed that the 18-year-old has broken the high school’s rules of having sex outside of marriage.
Runkles and her parents say they are struggling to understand how the conservative Christian institution can be so vehemently against abortion and yet still turn their backs on one of their own students.
“You can't be pro-life, but then refuse to support the girl that keeps her baby,” said Runkles, who added that she only told her teachers and peers about her pregnancy because she did not wish to deceive them.
And it is not as if she hasn’t already been punished for her ‘sins’; the school asked Runkles to remain home for two days during an unofficial suspension and she was forced to step down from her leadership roles within the institution.
Now, she says she will be the only one in her class of 15 students denied the chance to join in the school’s celebrations.
“It’s like a small school and it is such a big deal and I am the only one that is not going to be there that night to walk to the stage,” she said.
The school has defended the school decision to exclude Runkles from the ceremony.
“Maddi is being disciplined not because she’s pregnant, but because she was immoral,” they said in an official statement, which has since been published on Twitter.
“The Student Pledge which every student from 5th grade through to 12th grade signs stats that this application of Phillippnes 4:8 ‘extends to my actions, such as protecting my body by abstaining from sexual immorality and from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs’.
“Heritage is pleased that she has chosen to not abort her son. However her immorality is the original choice she made that began this situation.”
The Board added that they are not “harsh, cruel, hard-hearted men” (because, of course, they are men) and that they spent “countless hours in prayer” before coming to a decision.
“[On graduation night, we] want God to be glorified in a dignified manner,” they finished. “Please enable us to do this.”
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