A pregnant schoolgirl has been told she will not be allowed to take part in her high school graduation because “she was immoral”.
Maryland teen Maddi Runkles, a straight A student, said she has been “shamed” by Heritage Academy since she told the Christian school she was pregnant. According to the school’s website, it requires students to sign a pledge agreeing to protect their bodies by “abstaining from sexual immorality and from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs”.
But 18-year-old Runkles, who was student council president, says she has been more severely punished than other students who have broken the rules. The school initially expelled the teen, who is now five months pregnant, when she told them about her pregnancy in January. While academy leaders eventually permitted her to return, Runkles was told she would not be allowed to walk across the stage with her classmates during their graduation ceremony.
She told HuffPost: “Sexual morality is not just limited to premarital sex. There’s many different forms of it and there have been other kids committing forms of sexual immorality and they have never been treated this harshly.”
Runkles parents, who say they have “never advocated that Maddi should not be disciplined for her actions” are now planning to hold their own graduation ceremony for their daughter the day after the official event. Her father, Scott Runkles, wrote on Facebook: “My daughter should be held accountable for what she did. Discipline is a necessary piece of the picture but grace and love should be more prominent… that is how restoration takes place.”
Heritage Academy principal David Hobbs said Runkles is not being disciplined because she’s pregnant but “because she was immoral”. In a statement, Hobbs said: “We love Maddi Runkles. The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her immorality that began this situation.” He added: “Heritage is also pleased that she has chosen to not abort her son. However, her immorality is the original choice she made that began this situation.”
This article was first published on Huffington Post.