An 18-year-old student with a 4.0 GPA at her private Christian school in Maryland was barred from her high school graduation because she is pregnant. In an emotional session at the school's auditorium, Maddi stood in front of her peers and broke the news.
Her emotional declaration took place in the school auditorium.
The school has defended the school decision to exclude Maddi from the ceremony.
At the beginning of each school year, each student and parent are reportedly asked to sign a pledge in which the students promise to "protect" their bodies from sexual immorality, alcohol and illegal drugs, among other perceived sins.
"I chose life and sometimes it feels like it wasn't worth it, but then it's been kind of a blessing because I have a big platform to help other people", she said. "The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her morality that began this situation". Her father resigned as the school's board president.
In a public statement she expressed dismay at the school board's actions saying it has "either intentionally or unintentionally communicated to the school community that pregnancy (not simply premarital sex) is a shame and should not be observed within our school community". "She made the courageous decision to choose life, and she definitely should not be shamed", Kristan Hawkins, the Students for Life president", told the Times.
"I've been a principal for a long time, and I believe that when it comes to the behavioral matters of individual families that that information is confidential", he said.
She feels she's being punished for choosing life.
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However, days before she received her acceptance letter, she found out she was pregnant. Because the father does not attend Heritage Academy, he isn't being disciplined by the school.
The Runkles family plans to have their own private ceremony if the school does not change their minds.
The school believes they have already made an exception by allowing Maddi Runkles to continue attending.
Despite her requests for help and forgiveness, her school responded by giving her neither.
In the meantime, Runkles said she is focused on maintaining her 4.0 grade point average until the end of the school year.
The Heritage Academy, a conservative Christian school, considers premarital sex a violation of its code of conduct, as do many institutions with similar values. "I think she's got it together and I think she's going to be fine", Sharon said of her daughter.
A New York Times article profiled the student, Maddi Runkles, in a piece last week that drew national attention to her situation and ultimately led Hobbs to write publicly of the board's decision. And she has other things on her mind. Their baby boy is due in September.