Louisiana School Announces Change to Pregnancy Test Requirement

After much public pressure, a Louisiana school’s policy that students be required to take pregnancy tests at the threat of expulsion will be changed, announced school officials yesterday. The policy, which requires students who are suspected of being pregnant to undergo a pregnancy test, states students who are either found to be pregnant or who refuse to take the test will not be allowed on campus.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana sent a letter to Dehli Charter School officials on Monday saying that the school’s policy violates Title IX of the 1972 federal education law as well as the students’ 14th amendment rights to equal protection under the law. The school responded saying that they were unaware that there was anything wrong with the policy. The school’s chairman Albert Christman said the “policy has gotten everybody in a roar,” announcing Wednesday that it would no longer enforce the policy.

According to a June report from the National Women’s Law Center, too many schools do not realize pregnant students should receive equal treatment. “Despite enormous advances for women and girls in education since 1972,” the report states, “schools across the country continue to bar pregnant and parenting students from activities, kick them out of school, pressure them to attend alternative programs, and penalize them for pregnancy-related absences.”

Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 8/9/12; National Women’s Law Center blog 8/9/12; Huffington Post 8/8/12

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