In January, 18-year-old high school senior Maddi Runkles learned she was pregnant. Several days later, she received her college acceptance letter and successfully completed her final year at Heritage Academy, a Christian high school in Maryland. But, as punishment for her pregnancy, Runkles has been barred from walking at her own high school graduation.
When the Heritage Academy administration learned Runkles was pregnant, the teen was suspended for two days and removed from her position as president of the student council. Although Runkles has been clear and honest about the fact that she did violate school rules by engaging in sexual activity, she's being punished far more harshly than other students who have broken different school rules.
“Typically, when somebody breaks a rule, you punish them at the time they break the rule. That way, the punishment is behind them and they’re moving forward with a clean slate,” her father told The New York Times. “With Maddi, her punishment was set four months out. It’s ruined her senior year.”
Heritage Academy has defended its actions, stating that Runkles' situation is “an internal issue about which much prayer and discussion has taken place." They also confirmed that she'll receive a diploma.
Although it's true that Christian teachings condemn sex outside of marriage, there's a glaring element of hypocrisy at play here. Runkles chose to keep her baby and, because Christians are staunchly pro-life, it seems like the school should give her credit and respect for choosing to carry the pregnancy to term. (Although, of course, Runkles certainly had a right to choose abortion if she felt it was the best option.)
Runkles has also garnered the support of a national anti-abortion group that has praised her for choosing to keep the baby.