Should A School Force Girls To Take A Pregnancy Test? And Kick Them Out If They Don’t… Or If They Are Pregnant?
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
Have you heard about the charter school in Louisiana that holds the right to require a girl to take a pregnancy test? (By the way, the school can choose the doctor as well). That’s not all. If she refuses, the school can expel her. And if she does take the test, and is pregnant … the school can expel her.
There is a legal issue here. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana is pursuing this vigorously. They suggest that it violates the U.S. Constitution and federal laws pertaining to sexual discrimination.
There are also other issues here. Jeanne Sager has written a great piece suggesting what I believe many parents would think. They would want to be in the loop if the school suspected anything about their child. They would want to take the lead on bringing their daughter to a doctor. And, they would think it horrendous that a school would kick a girl out for being pregnant (especially since teen pregnancy is a primary reason why girls quit school).
I agree with all of the above. In addition, I suggest that schools have an obligation to work with parents when sensitive issues come up. It’s not just pregnancy; it could be, for example, suspected drug use. I would hope that schools would partner with parents to try to serve the kid in question the best – meaning securing an appropriate referral (if necessary) and working out a plan to keep the kid engaged in school. Of course, there are going to be situations where a school may reach out to parents and find that the parents are not properly involved or unwilling to take appropriate actions. That’s a tough bind for a school and then the issue gets a bit fuzzy. But the solution is not for a school to have complete control over a kid’s life – and enact a severe punishment that denies a kid an education.
I’m anticipating that lots of parents will have lots to say about this. I’d love to get your take on it.