High school senior Maddi Runkles is speaking out after her private Christian school banned her from attending graduation because she is pregnant. In a move that Runkles — who held a 4.0 GPA — views as hypocritical, the school also suspended her for two days and forced her to step down from her leadership roles.
“Some pro-life people are against the killing of unborn babies, but they won’t speak out in support of the girl who chooses to keep her baby,” she told the New York Times. “Honestly, that makes me feel like maybe the abortion would have been better. Then they would have just forgiven me, rather than deal with this visible consequence.”
Runkles came clean to her school after finding out she was pregnant in January because she did not want to appear deceitful. Despite her honesty, Heritage Academy chose to punish her anyway. Plus, the principal even believes he made a generous exception by allowing her to continue attending classes after the school first pondered making her finish out the school year at home.
The Maryland school defended its decision by pointing out that Runkles signed the code of conduct, which reads, “This application extends to my actions, such as protecting my body by abstaining from sexual immorality and from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs…”
Runkles’s father Scott, however, claims the school has permitted students who have committed worse offenses to walk at graduation in the past, saying, “The difference is consistency because we have had other students that have had serious infractions and they have walked in the past and they are allowed to walk this year.”
Runkles is one of 15 students set to graduate next month, and she’ll be the only one to miss the ceremony if the school upholds her punishment. In the meantime, she maintains that such action conflicts with Heritage Academy’s Christian teachings.
“You can’t be pro-life, but then refuse to support the girl that keeps her baby,” she said.