MONROE, La. – A Delhi Charter School policy that prevents pregnant female students from attending school and can force them to take a pregnancy test to continue attending school if administrators "suspect" pregnancy has drawn the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The News-Star report the ACLU sent a letter Monday requesting the school revise its policy or the group will consider further legal action.
Delhi Charter School's policy states the school seeks to maintain an environment where students will learn and exhibit acceptable character traits that govern language, gesture, physical actions and written words.
"The school reserves the right to require any female student to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not the suspect student is in fact pregnant," the policy reads.
The policy also allows the school to refer the student to a physician of its choice. "If the test indicates that the student is pregnant, the student will not be permitted to attend classes on the campus of Delhi Charter School."
Pregnant students wishing to continue attending Delhi Charter will be required to enroll in a home study course while pregnant.
"They're punishing girls for making the choice to have the child," Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana said Monday.
Students who refuse to take a pregnancy test are "treated as a pregnant student and will be offered home study opportunities."
The letter from the ACLU contends that the policy violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 because it excludes students from educational programs and activities based on sex and the equal protection clause because it treats female students differently than male students and relies on impermissible sexual stereotypes.
Esman said the policy is a pretext for sexual discrimination.
Shirley said that all public schools, including charter schools, must abide by federal law.
"Perhaps the school was not aware of the protections under Title IX (of the Education Amendments of 1972)," she said. "I am feeling a bit frustrated that maybe not all of our schools are aware of these compliance issues. I hope they will remedy this or explain why they think they have the ability to do this."