An 18-year-old student with a 4.0 GPA at her private Christian school in Maryland was barred from her high school graduation because she is pregnant.
Maddi Runkles learned she was going to be a mother in January, days after receiving her college acceptance letter, the New York Times reported.
The high school senior decided to tell officials at Heritage Academy because she did not want to deceive her peers or teachers. After revealing her news to the school, Runkles was forced to step down from her leadership roles and was suspended for two days.
Runkles told Fox 5 she took the discipline in stride, but feels being excluded from her own graduation takes things too far.
Some pro-life people are against the killing of unborn babies, but they wont speak out in support of the girl who chooses to keep her baby, she told the Times. Honestly, that makes me feel like maybe the abortion would have been better. Then they would have just forgiven me, rather than deal with this visible consequence.
Runkles said the father of her child does not attend Heritage Academy. They do not plan to marry.
The private academy, a non-denominational conservative Christian school in Hagerstown, said Runkles violated the schools code of conduct by engaging in premarital sex. At the beginning of every year, high school students and their parents are required to sign a pledge.
It reads: This application extends to my actions, such as protecting my body by abstaining from sexual immorality and from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs…
Runkles admitted to signing the pledge, but her father feels there is room left for interpretation.
The difference is consistency because we have had other students that have had serious infractions and they have walked in the past and they are allowed to walk this year, Scott Runkles told Fox 5.
Heritage Academy David Hobbs feels the school made an exception, even in just allowing the senior to remain in class.
I believe that every situation should be evaluated individually, he told the news station. When it comes to a precedent, I dont believe that a precedent always guides decisions that are made in the future.
Runkles is one of 15 students set to graduate from Heritage Academy next month. She said if the school stands by its decision, she intends to host her own ceremony.
But she remains put off by her school’s actions.
You cant be pro-life, but then refuse to support the girl that keeps her baby, she said.