A US school has been accused of forcing pregnancy tests on girls and excluding those who are either found to be pregnant or refuse to take the test.
Delhi Charter School in Louisiana sets out its controversial policy in its manual, which clearly states students will be taken out of class and made to study at home if they break the school's rules.
The school, which has 600 students, says it "places high expectations" on its pupils. In its manual, the school states:
"If an administrator or teacher suspects a student is pregnant, a parent conference will be held. The school reserves the right to require any female student to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not the suspected student is in fact pregnant.
"If the test indications that the student is pregnant, the student will not be permitted to attend classes on the campus of Delhi Charter School.
"Any student who is suspected of being pregnant and who refuses to submit to a pregnancy test shall be treated as a pregnant student and will be offered home study opportunities.
"If home study opportunities are not acceptable, the student will be counselled to seek other educational opportunities."
Now, pro-rights campaigner the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has written a public letter to the school demanding the policy be removed immediately.
The group has written to the school's two principals Chris Broussard and Nikki Roark, as well as the board chairman Albert Christman, saying the policy is in "clear violation of federal law and the US constitution".
According to Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU, the policy violates part of the Education Amendments and Equal Protection Clause "because it excludes students from educational programs and activities on the basis of sex".
The school also "reserves the right" to send the student in question to "a physician of its choice".
Refusing to take the test or being found to be pregnant carries the same punishment as possession of a firearm, knife or illegal drug.
The school also states public displays of affection may result in suspension or recommendation for expulsion.
The ACLU's Esman adds: "The policy violates the substantive Due Process right to procreate and to decide whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.. [and] by imposing an irrebuttable presumption that pregnant students are unable to continue to attend classes.
"If you do not agree to this request, we will consider taking further legal action."
The school could not be reached for comment.
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