A pregnant teenager – an honour student with straights As – has been branded “immoral” by her school and told she cannot attend its graduation ceremony.
Officials at Heritage Academy, a private Christian school in Maryland, said Maddi Runkles, 18, was not welcome at the event because she had to be held “accountable for her immorality”.
“Maddi is being disciplined, not because she’s pregnant, but because she was immoral,” David Hobbs, the school administrator, said in a statement.
“Heritage is also pleased that she has chosen to not abort her son. However, her immorality is the original choice she made that began this situation.”
The teenager said she had originally considered having an abortion, but decided against doing so. She told the New York Times she considered herself “a practising born-again Christian”.
She said she intended to raise her baby, a boy, with the help of her parents. She keeps a framed ultrasound picture next to her bed. The child’s father is not a pupil at the school.
Her parents have supported her decision and have said they will organsise their own graduation ceremony for their daughter.
“She has more guts than I have at 45 years old, to walk into school every day, to take the criticism that she takes, and to take it with grace that she takes it with. I think she’s got it together and I think she’s going to be fine,” her mother, Sharon Runkles, told CBS.
Along with her parents, the 18-year-old told Mr Hobbs that she was pregnant. He told them he intended to inform the older students, pushing the teenager to tell her classmates herself.
“I told on myself,” she said. “I asked for forgiveness. I asked for help.”
She added: “I know at the end of the day that I made the right choice and in a couple months, I’ll have this little sweet reward just to remind me that I did the right thing.”