ACLU targets Monroe charter school over student pregnancy policy

Kyle Barnett Aug. 9, 2012, 2:31am

Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU

DELHI – The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana has targeted a Monroe area charter school alleging the school has policies that deny rights to pregnant students.

The non-profit legal advocacy group sent a letter to the Dehli Charter School in Dehli, La. advising them that its student pregnancy policies were in violation of numerous laws.

The ACLU claims the school policies allow any teacher that may think a student is pregnant to mandate that student submit to a pregnancy test. Under the policy, students who are found to be pregnant would be required to transition to a home study program. In addition, students who refuse to take a pregnancy test would be treated as if they were pregnant and be required to also transition to a home study program.

"The pregnancy policy violates the rights of every girl at Delhi Charter School," said Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU. "Every girl is at risk of being subject to intrusive medical testing, and possibly forced out of school, for reasons that have nothing to do with her education."

The ACLU claims the policy is unconstitutional, in violation of several laws, takes away a person's right to procreate and is a pretext for sex discrimination.

"The right to attend school and to participate fully in activities cannot be denied a student simply because she is, or may be, pregnant," said Galen Sherwin of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project.

"Pregnancy is not a disease, and schools may not treat it that way. To force a student to home study simply because she is pregnant is to deny her the equal right to a full education. The administrators of Delhi Charter School should be ashamed that they seek to deprive students of the benefits of going to school every day."

Thew Huffington Post has reported that two days after the ACLU issued the letter the school's chairman has said the policy, which has been in effect since 2006, will be changed.

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