Louisiana School Forces Pregnancy Tests On Girls; Kicks Them Out If They Refuse

A publicly-funded, Delhi, Louisiana, school is taking teen pregnancy prevention—and discrimination against young women—to a whole new level with a policy mandating pregnancy tests for female students administrators suspect may be pregnant—a rule the American Civil Liberties Union says violates all kinds of federal laws aimed at protecting women from discrimination.

The Delhi Charter School’s policy states that 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.” In cases where a test determines that a female student is pregnant, “the student will not be permitted to attend classes on the campus of Delhi Charter School,” the policy adds. Students who refuse 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.”

What in the Scarlet Letter hell?

So, let me get this straight: If a teacher or the principal or a counselor or the janitor or the lunch lady gets it in her mind that a student might be knocked up, they’ve got the right to go on a Salem-styled witch hunt against this kid—denying her a publicly-funded education (paid for with her mama’s taxes) if she is preggers or denying her a publicly-funded education (paid for with her mama’s taxes) if she refuses mandatory, invasive, deeply personal medical procedures. Which of course makes all the sense in the friggin world because, hell, the last thing you want to do for a young pregnant Louisianan is allow her a publicly-funded education (paid for with her mama’s taxes). Nope—you want her home, barefoot, pregnant and dumb as a post so that her kid, already being born into tough odds, can be assured a place in the long line of social ills that have a chokehold on teen moms. Way to go, Louisiana!

*insert side-eye here*

Thank God, the ACLU is on the case. In a letter sent Monday to school officials, ACLU Executive director blasted the policy, calling it “archaic” and steeped in the “pernicious stereotype that a girl’s pregnancy sets a ‘bad example’ for her peers—i.e., that in having engaged in sexual activity, she has transgressed acceptable norms of feminine behavior.”

The ACLU also pointed out on its site that, yeah, the policy also violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that explicitly forbids schools from excluding students from an education program or activity, “including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination or pregnancy or recovery therefrom.” Plus, there’s that little pesky thing in our nation’s Constitution which gives Americans the right to procreate and enjoy equal protection—meaning you can not round up the girls and punish them for getting pregnant, but ignore the fact that some boy somewhere, perhaps even right there in the school, may have had something to do with said pregnancy. “Girls who are pregnant today deserve the right to be in class just the same as women who are pregnant deserve the right to be in the workplace,” Louise Melling, director of the ACLU Center for Liberty, told CNN. “That’s the law.”

Of course, now that everyone’s going ape nuts over the Delhi Charter School’s policy, which officials say has been on the books since 2006 with nary a complaint (o_O), principal Chris Broussard says the school has hired a law firm to review the policy and make revisions so that it “is in full compliance with the constitutional law.”

Of course, I’m not sure why one would need to waste all that good money on lawyers. Here’s an idea: how about you erase the stupid rule from the books, and put that lawyer cash toward the salary of an awesome sex education teacher who can teach students—both the girls and the boys—how to protect themselves, make smart decisions about their bodies and take control of their reproductive health, sans the prying, stereotypical, sexist intervention of the principal and the lunch lady. That would be total awesome sauce.

RELATED POSTS:

1. Even When You Try, Keeping Teenagers from Having Sex in Your Home Can be Complicated
2. When It Comes to Teen Pregnancy and Sex, CDC Confirms: Teenagers are Morons
3. Teen Girls Can Suck It: No Morning-After Pill Without Doc’s Consent
4. {Let’s Talk about Sex} The Best Ways for Parents to Get Ready for “The Talk”

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

4 Comments

  1. It is sad that there was a need for you to write this post.

  2. It’s crazy that in this day and age women and girls are still catching ALL the flak for being pregnant and that this rule has been on the books since 2006 without a complaint! Ugh!

    My people are from LA (Rapides Parish) and when I asked my grandma about possibly moving back she laughed at me and said I didn’t know what I was talking about … I guess she was right.

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