Can a school force girls to take pregnancy tests?
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Default Can a school force girls to take pregnancy tests?

    Charter School Mandates Pregnancy Tests for Students Suspected of Being Pregnant

    A Louisiana charter school is in the news this week for its policy of mandating pregnancy tests for female students if there are any suspicions that the girls are pregnant. And then kicks out anyone who is pregnant.

    Dehli Charter School in Dehli, La., has 600 students in grades k-12 and presents its pregnancy policy as an effort to maintain its high standard for student character.

    In its policy book, Dehli Charter School states: The school reserves the right to require any female student to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not the suspected student is in fact pregnant. The school further reserves the right to refer the student to a physician of its choice. If the test indicates that the student is pregnant, the student will not be permitted to attend classes on the campus of Dehli Charter School.

    The policy goes on to say that the student can purchase a homeschooling program if she wishes to continue her education.

    So what happens if a student refuses to take a pregnancy test?

    The policy states, Any student who is suspected of being pregnant and refuses to submit to a pregnancy test shall be treated as a pregnant student and will be offered home study opportunities.

    Among the many criticisms of this policy, including what appear to be blatant violations of federal law: The policy does not address male students who have premarital sex that results in a pregnancy.

    The pregnancy policy violates the rights of every girl at Delhi Charter School, said Marjorie R. Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. 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 right to attend school and to participate fully in activities cannot be denied simply because a student is, or may be, pregnant, said Galen Sherwin of the ACLUs Womens Rights Project. Pregnancy is not a disease, and schools may not treat it that way. The administrators of Delhi Charter School should be ashamed that they seek to deprive students of the benefits of going to school every day.

    The ACLU has asked the school to end the policy. In a statement issued Monday, the ACLU said:
    Today, the ACLU of Louisiana and the ACLU Womens Rights Project asked Delhi Charter School to immediately suspend this discriminatory and illegal policy.

    The policys complete disregard for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities, is astonishing. Title IX and its regulations explicitly mandate that schools cannot exclude any student from an education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such students pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom.

    Besides violating Title IX, the policy is also in violation of the Constitutions due process right to procreate, and equal protection: it treats female students differently from male students and relies on archaic stereotypes linked to sex and pregnancy.

    Approximately 70 percent of teen girls who give birth leave school, due in part to illegal discrimination. Schools should be supporting pregnant and parenting teens that face numerous barriers to completing their education, not illegally excluding them from school. The ACLUs Womens Rights Project protects the rights of pregnant and parenting teens through advocacy, education, and litigation, working to combat the push-out of pregnant and parenting teens from school.
    Looking over the schools lengthy policy handbook, the school also permits corporal punishment . One of the considerations of whether and how to use physical discipline on students is: The students ability to bear the punishment.
    Thoughts? Can a school force girls to take pregnancy tests? Can they kick her out for being pregnant, or refusing to take the test? Also, is it their business to "refer her to a physician of their choice?" (Not sure if that means she has to go to their physician, or if they can just suggest one....)
    Last edited by Alissa_Sal; 08-07-2012 at 12:09 PM.
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    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    I cannot think of a good reason that would make them want to test? I know charter schools have some different rules in place then a typical public school, but they should only be there to deal with distractions in the classroom.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom3girls View Post
    I cannot think of a good reason that would make them want to test? I know charter schools have some different rules in place then a typical public school, but they should only be there to deal with distractions in the classroom.
    I don't think the rules can violate state or federal law, though.

    This is just insane! I think it would be against possibly the 4th amendment and definitely the 14th amendment. Just to illustrate: What happens to the girl who gets pregnant the end of May, finds out in June, has an abortion a week later. She wouldn't be required to disclose that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ethanwinfield View Post
    I don't think the rules can violate state or federal law, though.

    This is just insane! I think it would be against possibly the 4th amendment and definitely the 14th amendment. Just to illustrate: What happens to the girl who gets pregnant the end of May, finds out in June, has an abortion a week later. She wouldn't be required to disclose that.
    Ditto this. To answer the OP: no, no, and no.
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    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
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    It doesn't say anything about purchasing the home study. It just says while she's pregnant (or refuses to test) she has to do her work at home and has to maintain the high academic standards to be promoted. And that if they don't want to do the work, they will be counseled to seek other educational opportunities.

    You guys don't think the teenage pregnancy rate will drop with a policy like this in place? Because my cousin got pregant when she shouldn't have and I had to hide her feed because about a quarter of the kids commenting on her facebook were also teenage parents. Both male and female. It's treated like it's not a big deal in the school she went to. It was actually celebrated by a few of the kids (not high school graduates) when they got a positive pregnancy test.

    It's not the same for males. Men can't have babies. Period. So they can't walk around school with the attitude that it's easy peasy or actually something to be proud of in the same way a high school girl does.

    People joke about "not drinking the water" but in high school, once a notion is considered cool (or whatever the term is now), there is no stopping it. Just like a contagious disease. However, if you make the consequences losing the social aspect of school and being stuck at home by yourself and pregnant, I bet the rate would drop.

    I'm sorry. I think it's a great incentive to be more careful.

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    Just to clarify, this is a public school right? Private schools do have the option of putting in their policy book rules about conduct. If those rules are violated, then the student is no longer able to attend. However these schools are not public. They are private schools that cost a lot of money. If you wish to go there you have to sign a contract first. If you then break the agreement (Such as getting pg) then you are kicked out. There is no one forcing you to go to said school.

    Now if this is a public school that you are zoned for (My kids would be zoned for a charter school. No other public option), then I would feel differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wlillie View Post
    It doesn't say anything about purchasing the home study. It just says while she's pregnant (or refuses to test) she has to do her work at home and has to maintain the high academic standards to be promoted. And that if they don't want to do the work, they will be counseled to seek other educational opportunities.

    You guys don't think the teenage pregnancy rate will drop with a policy like this in place? Because my cousin got pregant when she shouldn't have and I had to hide her feed because about a quarter of the kids commenting on her facebook were also teenage parents. Both male and female. It's treated like it's not a big deal in the school she went to. It was actually celebrated by a few of the kids (not high school graduates) when they got a positive pregnancy test.

    It's not the same for males. Men can't have babies. Period. So they can't walk around school with the attitude that it's easy peasy or actually something to be proud of in the same way a high school girl does.

    People joke about "not drinking the water" but in high school, once a notion is considered cool (or whatever the term is now), there is no stopping it. Just like a contagious disease. However, if you make the consequences losing the social aspect of school and being stuck at home by yourself and pregnant, I bet the rate would drop.

    I'm sorry. I think it's a great incentive to be more careful.
    I don't think a policy like this is going to discourage teenagers from having sex and getting pregnant. I don't think there's a force on earth that can successfully stop teenagers from having sex and getting pregnant, except maybe comprehensive sex education and accessible birth control. It may encourage them to have more abortions though....
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    Just to clarify, this is a public school right? Private schools do have the option of putting in their policy book rules about conduct. If those rules are violated, then the student is no longer able to attend. However these schools are not public. They are private schools that cost a lot of money. If you wish to go there you have to sign a contract first. If you then break the agreement (Such as getting pg) then you are kicked out. There is no one forcing you to go to said school.

    Now if this is a public school that you are zoned for (My kids would be zoned for a charter school. No other public option), then I would feel differently.
    Charter schools are funded with public money aren't they? I have to think they would have to follow at least most of the same general rules as regular public schools if they want to keep their funding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    Just to clarify, this is a public school right? Private schools do have the option of putting in their policy book rules about conduct. If those rules are violated, then the student is no longer able to attend. However these schools are not public. They are private schools that cost a lot of money. If you wish to go there you have to sign a contract first. If you then break the agreement (Such as getting pg) then you are kicked out. There is no one forcing you to go to said school.

    Now if this is a public school that you are zoned for (My kids would be zoned for a charter school. No other public option), then I would feel differently.
    It's a charter school. A public school had to issue them a charter which they need to renew every so often.

    So becuase no one is forcing you to go to that school, they can invade your privacy? Students (and teachers) still have rights even while at school. Granted some are restricted (freedom of speech, search and seizure) but this really crosses the line.

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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Also, what about medical privacy, and the rights of the parents to procure the medical care for their kids that they see fit?

    Finally, kicking pregnant girls out of school seems like a great way to keep kids in a cycle of low education, poverty, and public assistance.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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