August 9, 2012 — An official from a publicly funded charter school in Louisiana announced plans to change a 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, the AP/Huffington Post reports (McConnaughey, AP/Huffington Post, 8/8).
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 for the test.
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 (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/8).
Delhi Charter School Chair Albert Christman said no one at the school was aware that there was anything wrong with the policy until ACLU threatened legal action. Christman said the policy has gotten "everybody up in a roar." He said only "a handful" of students were affected by the policy, which went into place in 2006. All of those students "came back to school and finished their school," Christman said.
Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for education and employment for the the National Women's Law Center, said she is disappointed that school administrators were unaware of the Title IX requirements. "This is the type of thing that educational institutions should know," she said, adding, "To me it suggests that there needs to be a serious public education campaign, serious efforts to educate schools about their obligations" (AP/Huffington Post, 8/8).
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