Quite a header for an article by Tara Culp posted this week at nationofchange.org. No doubt the school in question, the Delhi Charter School in Delhi, Louisiana, will be taken to task by the ACLU and other groups for instituting a policy that is blatantly discriminatory–not to mention that it sanctions the forced invasion of a student’s privacy in the most personal of ways. As the school’s student handbook makes clear, even girls who are simply “suspected” of being pregnant will be required to submit to mandatory pregnancy testing. And, all of this in the name of coping with the state’s high rates of teen pregnancy!
The policy probably will not stand for long, but in a way that’s not even the point. Public shaming, and engendering fear, and anxiety and guilt, are the least helpful ways of reaching teens about sexuality.This kind of approach virtually guarantees that teen behavior will go even further underground, since adults have cast themselves as “the enemy,” certainly not trusted Go-To people whose caring advice and guidance is what young people need. The real tragedy in many cases will be teen girls attempting to hide their pregnancies for as long as possible, thereby endangering their own life and health, and the outcomes of their pregnancies, because they will be afraid to seek and receive proper attention to prenatal care.
Let’s not forget the message to boys–and about boys–that this horribly misguided policy unequivocally promotes: It’s all the girl’s fault and it’s all her problem. And she should and will be punished for it.