Pregnant Maryland teen not allowed at graduation ceremony

Maddi Runkles 18 has been barred from graduating at her high school because she is pregnant out of wedlock. While the young woman feels that a penalty is appropriate she is bothered and hurt by the school's

Pregnant Maryland Teen Not Allowed at Graduation Ceremony

She decided against it, and says the punishment she now faces isn't fair, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

And for those who may be in a similar situation, her message is simple.

On Tuesday, her principal released a statement on behalf of the school. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of Heritage Academy, a place where she knew those who got pregnant at her age were regarded differently. She made her confession with her father at her side.

After trying to keep her pregnancy a secret, Maddi finally shared the news with her mom, Sharon. It kind of defeats the whole goal of being pro-life, and says to girls, "Maybe you should have gotten the abortion because we could forgive you for that'". And for other schools to see, if they have a situation, that you should let the girl walk.

"I told on myself", she told the newspaper. "The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her morality that began this situation". And she did. She was forced to step down from her leadership positions at school and stayed home for two days during an unofficial suspension, while the Heritage board-that at the time was led by her father-decided upon her punishment.

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..." And that's why discipline must be applied for Maddi's benefit. While she considered abortion, she says, she "did the right thing" to keep her baby boy. What was initially a punitive and learning moment has transformed into a public lesson (before this even was announced to the media). In a class of only 15 students, her absence will be obvious and can only be explained in that her immorality is visible (unlike the errs of past and present students).

In a written statement, Hobbs confirmed Maddi would still receive a diploma. "We want her to be viewed as part of the Heritage family, but there's still accountability necessary", Hobbs said.

Heritage Academy in Hagerstown, Md.

Runkles is an ideal emblem for the pro-life cause. A 2014 study found that almost 60 percent of women who have abortions identify as Catholic or Protestant.

Vice president of LifeWay Research Scott McConnell said the results suggest a church culture that is lacking grace.

"She made the courageous decision to choose life, and she definitely should not be shamed", Kristan Hawkins, the Students for Life president, said.

Though she had excellent grades, was president of the student council, and played on the school soccer team, high school senior Maddi Runkles is banned from walking at her graduation ceremony in early June.

Maddi felt wrongly represented, despite her honesty, and abandoned by the principles the school faculty had professed.

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