HAGERSTOWN, MD (WJLA/CNN) – A Maryland high school senior was suspended for two days and banned from walking in her graduation ceremony because she is pregnant.
Maddi Runkles, a senior at a private Christian school, Heritage Academy, in Hagerstown, MD, is five months pregnant. The school principal, Dave Hobbs, says because of that, she’s not allowed to walk at graduation.
"This has been a breach of a standard of abstinence,” Hobbs said.
The principal says Runkles and her parents signed a covenant, vowing the teen wouldn’t have sex, among other things.
"Discipline is not the absence of love. Discipline is the application of love,” Hobbs said.
The situation has sparked a nationwide debate, with some arguing Runkles’ penalty is too harsh, but Hobbs says the school showed the teenager grace by not expelling her. She can also still attend graduation, just not take part in it.
"Even though we love Maddi, even though we forgive her, there's still accountability,” Hobbs said.
Runkles says the baby’s father does not attend her school, and they do not plan to marry. The baby is due in September.
For now, Runkles says she’s focused on maintaining her 4.0 grade point average. She plans to stay close to her family, so they can help her raise the baby.
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