HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- An 18-year-old Maryland high school student has been banned from walking at her high school graduation ceremony because she is pregnant, WTTG reports.
Maddi Runkles attends Heritage Academy, a private Christian school in Maryland, and the school says she violated its code of conduct by having premarital sex.
Runkles is one of 15 seniors in her class and will be the only one not allowed to walk because she is pregnant.
“It’s like a small school and it is such a big deal and I am the only one that is not going to be there that night to walk to the stage,” she told the station.
At the beginning of each school year, the school has students and parents sign a pledge.
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…"
However, Runkles and her family believes the pledge can be interpreted differently.
“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,” said Scott Runkles, Maddi's father and former president of the school’s board.
She doesn’t understand how the school can teach pro-life, but turn their back on a student who is choosing to keep her baby.
The school believes they have already made an exception by allowing Maddi Runkles to continue attending and letting her walk isn't the correct decision.
“I believe that every situation should be evaluated individually,” principal Dave Hobbs told WTTG. “When it comes to a precedent, I don’t believe that a precedent always guide decisions that are made in the future.”
The Runkles family plans to have their own private ceremony if the school does not change their minds.