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Louisiana Schools Will Change Policy on Pregnant Students

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A Louisiana charter school has agreed to rewrite a widely-criticized policy that had barred pregnant students from taking classes on campus, the chairman of the school's board said Thursday.

The Delhi Charter School had drawn complaints and the threat of legal action from the American Civil Liberties Union for the document, which also said that students who were suspected of being pregnant and refused to confirm that condition would also be required to take classes at home. (See my previous post for background on the dispute.)

The school's policy created an uproar and drew nationwide media attention, and Delhi Charter officials asked lawyers to review whether the document was legally defensible. On Thursday, the chairman of the school's board, Albert Christman, said in an e-mail that school officials had agreed to alter the policy and would post the revised document on the school's website once the full board had approved it.

"Once we were advised it was not in compliance, we immediately began the process of revising the policy," Christman told Education Week.

The ACLU of Louisiana has argued that the school policy violated federal law and the U.S. Constitution. On Thursday, the ACLU posted a statement on its website citing a Delhi official who said the policy was designed to protect pregnant students from ridicule. The ACLU rejected that rationale. "If students at Delhi are being harassed, the school's responsibility is to protect them while ensuring their education," said Marjorie Esman, the executive director of the group's Louisiana chapter. "The problem lies with the harasser, not the victim, and it's wrong for schools to kick students out for reasons that have nothing to do with their education."

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