Pregnant Teen at Christian School Not Allowed to Walk in Commencement Ceremonies

Pregnant Teen at Christian School Not Allowed to Walk in Commencement Ceremonies


Maddi Runkles is a senior at a small Christian school called Heritage Academy. She is in good academic standing and was on the student council. Earlier this year, she had sexual intercourse and became pregnant. She decided to keep the baby and informed the school that she was pregnant. She was allowed to stay in school and graduate but she was stripped of her leadership roles at the school and will not be allowed to walk with her graduating class during commencement.

Pro: In order to attend this Christian school, each child and their parents are given a code of conduct and subsequently sign a student pledge to adhere to this code. In that pledge, among other things it says that the student will, “abstain from sexual immorality.” The simple fact is that Maddi broke this code and she is being held responsible for violating her pledge. It’s no different than a parent who sets curfew at midnight and the child comes home at 2 a.m. If the parent does nothing, then why have a curfew at all?  Let me remind you that this is a Christian school where parents choose to enroll their children. Let me also remind you that Maddi was not kicked out of school or not allowed to graduate.

Con: The people who run this Christian school are probably pro-life. You shouldn’t be pro-life and punish a girl who chose to keep her baby. This is hypocritical. Maddi could also benefit from the support of this school, not their condemnation. The actions of this school are judgmental and unChristian. Jesus would have loved this girl unconditionally. Does this school punish everyone who has sex or just the ones who get pregnant and keep the baby? The father of this unborn baby does not go to this school, but if he did, would he be held to the same standard?

Your Turn: This is tough one and a great debate. It involves parenting, sex and religion, three topics that people have difficulty talking about without getting overly emotional. As always, I trust that you will talk about your beliefs and not criticize the beliefs of others.

  1. Viewing this from a character and leadership standpoint, did the school treat Maddi fairly? Why or why not?
  2. If you were on the board, what would you have done differently? Why?

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  1. 1. The discipline they gave her; Maddi being allowed to stay in school but having to step from her leadership roles is understandable and reasonable however the school saying she can not attend and walk with the rest of the seniors at graduation is not fair. It is not fair because she’s a hard working student with good grades and a good gpa, and that is what got her to being able to graduate. Her getting pregnant and keeping the baby should not keep her from her walking. They are a school that is pro-life but seemingly put Maddi to shame from her keeping her baby by not letting her walk with the rest of her class at graduation.
    2. If I was on the board, instead of saying that she can’t walk I would let her walk with the rest of the senior class and support her with her decision to keep her baby.

  2. I think that she shouldn’t be able to walk because it is against school code of conduct. You have to listen to the school rules no matter what. And the fact that it’ her senior year there makes it way worse.
    1.Yes, Because she didn’t follow the code of conduct that the school makes everyone sign.
    2. I would of let what she did sided just because she’s a great student has good grades and it’s 11 days from graduation.

  3. The school did not treat Maddie fairly because she was kept from walking in her graduation ceremony because she’s pregnant but the people at the school are pro-life so everyone makes mistakes she made one and if he parents can forgive her than the people at the school should also be forgiving.

  4. 1. I think they treated her fairly. If she signed a piece of paper stating that she could not have a sexual encounter, she should not have done it. She is the one who agreed to these rules.

    2. I would have made her serve detentions for what she did on top of what they already did. I would have let her graduate because that is just taking it way too far.

  5. 1)I do agree if she signed her treaty then she cant graduate she broke it probably knowing it was wrong.
    2) I would have still let her graduate but she would still be punished.

  6. I believe that the school didn’t do much wrong. When they’re set of rules an d codes you must follow them but besides the fact that they did not let her graduate with the rest of the class walking. Just because she got pregnant doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be able to go to graduation with the rest of her class. It may seem like she’s setting a bad reputation for the school but if she would’ve gone to graduation it would’ve just shown that any pregnant woman can go to school and graduate and become successful on their own.

  7. 1.) I don’t think that they treated her fairly. Especially because she was very high in academics and worked hard all throughout her schooling. I believe that they should have at least let her graduate because of the hard work and how apart she was of the school.

    2.) I would have let her graduate, but she would still be in big trouble by the school rules.

  8. 1. I believe that the school’s actions were backed up with appropriate reasons , however due to the nature of their religion and of the choices of Maddi that the school did come out as hypocritical.

    2. If I was in that board and I’m sure any of board members there would handle the situation with the morals of their religion in mind instead of what actually is the reasonable thing to do.

  9. 1. I think they treated her fairly but not fairly, you get me? Cause she did sign a pledge stating she wasn’t going to have sexual immorality , but they shouldn’t punish her from walking with her class because she kept her baby.

    2. If I was on the board I would’ve gave her a different punishment instead of dropping her from her leadership and walking with her class.