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Delhi school changes pregnancy policy


  Before its doors opened for the 2012-2013 school year, the 600-student Delhi Charter School in the north Louisiana town of Delhi faced a threatened lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The school's handbook stated that pregnant students (and students even suspected of being pregnant) would be subject to a pregnancy test from a school-selected physician.

  Pregnant students and students who refused to be tested would be home-schooled or counseled for other "education opportunities."

  The ACLU of Louisiana sent a letter to administrators at the school demanding they rescind the policy, writing that it violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools and programs receiving federal funds. (As a Louisiana charter school, Delhi also would receive taxpayer dollars under Gov. Bobby Jindal's new voucher system.) According to statistics provided by the ACLU, 70 percent of teen girls who give birth end up dropping out of school, mostly because of discrimination-based school policies.

  Louisiana Department of Education policy director Michael Higgins also wrote a letter demanding the school rescind the policy by Aug. 16, adding, "Under no circumstances shall the school require any student to take a pregnancy test."

  On Aug. 8, Delhi Charter School agreed, striking the requirement.

  It was the latest bit of bad publicity for Jindal's much-touted voucher program, which has come under fire in recent weeks on a variety of fronts, from some schools' possible use of creationist-inspired science textbooks to vouchers awarded to schools without the current infrastructure for an influx of students.

— Alex Woodward

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