The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana threatened Tuesday to sue a northeastern Louisiana charter school if it doesn’t change rules that keep pregnant students out of the classroom and require girls under suspicion of being pregnant to be tested.
The four-paragraph “Student Pregnancy Policy” in Delhi Charter School’s policy manual says that if a suspected girl refuses to take a pregnancy test, she can be removed from class or the school.
That violates the U.S. Constitution and federal laws against sexual discrimination, state ACLU executive director Marjorie R. Esman said.
“I haven’t heard of this anywhere else,” Esman said Tuesday. “And I hope there isn’t another school anywhere on the planet that has a policy like this.”
Esman emailed the school’s two principals and a board member about the policy on Monday. She said attorney W. David Hammett told her Tuesday that they were reviewing the issue and would get back.
“I take that as a good sign — that they’re taking this seriously,” she said. “And I assume their lawyers will agree with us and see the need to suspend enforcement and change their policy.”
School board member Albert Christman told The News Star in Monroe that the board was unaware of the potential discrimination and was reviewing the rule.
“We’re doing the best we can,” Christman said. “When someone points out a mistake, we fix it.”
Former school principal Steve Gaharan told the newspaper he was always concerned when he had to enforce the policy, which came up about once a year. Gaharan said he was forced to resign earlier this year over an alleged violation that wasn’t explained to him.
“The system used at Delhi Charter School is quite unusual and punishing to the young lady; however the young man can strut along, continue in school and compete in or participate in all extracurricular activities,” he said. “However, the pregnant young lady is not only excluded from all of these activities, but also must be home-schooled instead of having the privilege of attending school.”