August 8, 2012 — A publicly funded school in Louisiana on Tuesday said it will review its policy requiring students who are suspected of being pregnant to be tested and to not permit any student who is found to be pregnant or refuses to be tested to take classes on campus, CNN reports (Watkins, CNN, 8/7).
The school's policy states that if "an administrator or teacher suspects a student is pregnant, a parent conference will be held" and the school reserves the right to require the student to take a pregnancy test. The policy also states that the school will choose the doctor the student sees.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana on Monday sent a letter to Delhi Charter School officials stating that the policy violates Title IX of the federal education law and the female students' 14th Amendment rights to equal protection (McConnaughey, AP/USA Today, 8/7).
In the letter, Marjorie Esman, executive director of ACLU of Louisiana, told school officials that the policy "is based on the archaic and pernicious stereotype that a girl's pregnancy sets a 'bad example' for her peers."
Chris Broussard, the school's principal, said in a statement that there have been no complaints about the policy from parents or students in the past. He added that the policy has been forwarded to a Monroe, La., law firm to ensure it is in compliance with the law (CNN, 8/7).
Former Dehli Charter School principal Steve Gaharan said he had to enforce the policy about once annually and called it "quite unusual and punishing to the young lady" while the "young man can strut along, continue in school and compete in or participate in all extracurricular activities" (AP/USA Today, 8/7).
ACLU will consider taking further legal action if the school does not revise or suspend the policy by the beginning of the school year on Aug. 15, according to Tiseme Zegeye, a legal fellow at ACLU's Women's Rights Project (CNN, 8/7).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership