Pregnant? No School for You in This Louisiana Public Charter

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphaone/94603992/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Torsten Mangner</a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


A public charter school in Louisiana is getting national attention for requiring female students to take pregnancy tests if they are suspected of being pregnant and, if they are, forcing them to leave school. The ACLU of Louisiana sent a letter to the Delhi Charter School on Monday arguing that the policy is unconstitutional and “in clear violation of federal law.”

Delhi is a kindergarten through 12th grade public school in a town by the same name in northeastern Louisiana. Its “student pregnancy policy” states that the school seeks to ensure that students “exhibit acceptable character traits”—and in order to do so, allows the school to force any “suspected student” to take a pregnancy test. Here’s the policy:

If an administrator or teacher suspects a student is pregnant, a parent conference will be held. 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 suspected 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 Delhi Charter School.

Any student who is pregnant will be forced to go on home study. The policy goes on to state that any student who refuses to take a pregnancy test “shall be treated as a pregnant student” and also put on mandatory home study.

“I am not aware of anything else like this,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “This so blatantly illegal and discriminatory. This is about as draconian as anything I have ever seen.” Esman said the policy is not new, but had been brought to the ACLU’s attention this summer.

In the letter to the school, the ACLU argues that the policy violates the Title IX federal protections against educational discrimination on the basis of sex as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

School administrators did not respond to requests for comment via email and telephone at press time.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest