In the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot of stories about students who are were told they aren’t allowed to walk at graduation. Most of the stories are told by people banned for their clothing choices, but one recent story really sticks out. This particular honor student and former student council president named Maddi Runkles was suspended from school for two days and banned from graduation, all because she is pregnant.
Maddi attends a Catholic school in Maryland, and learned she was pregnant in January, shortly after getting into college. She told school officials, and they proceeded to suspended her for two days, then removed her from student council. They stated that her pregnancy was an “internal issue” and didn’t discuss it any further. After all of that, she continued getting her work done, and then the school told her that she wouldn’t be able to walk with her friends and classmates at her high school graduation ceremony.
Maddi’s pregnancy caused tension in her small school, since the Catholic religion discourages sex before marriage, but the catch 22 here is that they also discourage having an abortion, which is something that Maddi admitted to have thought about. It’s a tricky situation: obviously, religious beliefs are important to her, but so is the idea of sex ed, which normally isn’t taught at Catholic schools. Unfortunately, no matter what Maddi did, she would have been punished by the school either way.
Maddi, and her family believe she is being treated unfairly, and being “punished” for deciding to keep her baby. She felt that she was being treated harshly, and differently that other students, who have been suspended in the past but never banned from walking at graduation. High school graduation only happens once, and the fact that she has to miss hers is heartbreaking and unfair. Maddi says that her presence there makes others uncomfortable: she wears a jacket over her top so keep her pregnant belly disguised, and is shunned by some other students. Unfortunately, Maddi’s father said that the school’s treatment of her completely ruined her senior year, which makes sense.
Luckily, Maddi’s parents are throwing her their own graduation ceremony, and intend on helping her raise her child, which is a boy. This whole situation sucks, since Maddi is being punished for making decisions about her own body. She decided to keep the baby, which is her choice, but will be punished for it and will never be able to experience a high school graduation the same way as anyone else.
What do you think of Maddi’s story? Tell us in the comments!