The non-denominational conservative Christian Heritage Academy is not allowing 18-year-old Maddi Runkles from attending her June 2 graduation ceremony because she violated the school’s code of conduct by having premarital sex, local media outlets report.
Runkles found out she was pregnant in January and when school officials at the small private institution learned of the news, they suspended her for two days and removed her from her student council position.
There are only 15 seniors graduating and despite earning the right to walk in the ceremony and having a 4.0 GPA, Runkles won’t be able to join her classmates.
She is taking it in stride and told a local station if the school stands by its decision, she intends to host her own ceremony.
But Maddi still says being excluded from her own graduation takes things too far.
“Some pro-life people are against the killing of unborn babies, but they won’t speak out in support of the girl who chooses to keep her baby,” she told another news outlet. “Honestly, that makes me feel like maybe the abortion would have been better. Then they would have just forgiven me, rather than deal with this visible consequence.”
Runkles admitted to signing the pledge, but her father feels there is room left for interpretation.
The pledge reads in part:
“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…”
Heritage Academy principal David Hobbs said the school already gave the senior a concession by allowing her remain in class.
But Maddi’s dad questions the decision given other cases.
“The difference is consistency because we have had other students that have had serious infractions and they have walked in the past and they are allowed to walk this year,” Scott Runkles told Fox 5.
Runkles’ dad was on the Heritage schoolboard and recused himself from decisions involving his daughter, but eventually he ultimately quit the board to protest the school’s decision rega don’t his daughter.