An Open Letter to the Christian School Who Won’t Let a Pregnant Teen Walk at Graduation

Maddi Runkles, screen shot FOX5DC

Dear Board Members and Administrators at Heritage Christian School,

Yesterday I read the New York Times article about  how you are barring one of your students, 18-year-old Maddi Runkles, from walking at her own graduation ceremony because she is pregnant.

I have just one thing to ask you about your decision: ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

I surely wish this is a joke, because that’s what your lack-of-grace-filled decision has turned Christian schools and the pro-life movement into.

Do you forget that Maddi and her child are also children of God? Do you forget that YOU are also sinners saved by grace? Do you forget that you ALREADY meted out a suspension to Maddi MONTHS ago when she confessed that she was pregnant in JANUARY? Let me remind you that that punishment was for breaking the school code: having sex before marriage. That punishment was NOT for being pregnant, because BEING PREGNANT IS NOT A SIN.

However, not letting her walk at graduation? THAT is a punishment you are giving her for BEING PREGNANT. And that is 100% wrong.

Romans 3:23 tells us no-holds-barred that sin has consequences; having a child at 18 instead of pursuing her dreams after high school graduation are just some Maddi will deal with. Not being able to WALK at that graduation and publicly receive the diploma she earned should NOT be one of the wages of this sin.

Now, I know Maddi has said that the father of her child does not attend your school, but I am 100% certain that if  the roles were reversed, that if Maddi were a guy who attended your school and knocked up a girl from another school, he would STILL be walking at his graduation.

Because you can’t punish a guy for being pregnant. And like I said, you ARE punishing Maddi for being pregnant.

I don’t deny Maddi broke your school rules, and neither does she. But she OPENLY confessed her mistakes and wrong-doing before YOU and your student body. We don’t see open confession and repentance often but this young woman humbled herself and showed them. And now, though she has confessed and served her time, you are heaping now simply heaping mean-spirited shame upon her.

I attended a Christian school; my kids attend the same one I did. I am not against Christian schools.

But I am VERY against your board’s decision.

Maddi could have covered up her wrong-doing, she could have killed her child with a secret abortion. She could have faked her way through the rest of her senior year pretending she’d never broken a rule. She could have lied and deceived you all.

But she came clean. She chose LIFE. And you, a Christian organization who should hold the VALUE of life HIGH, have told others hers and her child’s should be hidden in shame. Even if that wasn’t your intention, that is what is happening. THAT is the reality.

Shame on YOU.

You have hurt this child of God. You have hurt the name of Christ. You have hurt those of us who fight for LIFE every day.

You have hurt the hundreds of Christian girls like Maddi who will get pregnant out of wedlock and will immediately think of THIS STORY; of the potential SHAME and lack of grace from their brothers and sister in Christ. You will hurt the unborn children they then decide to abort.

And I hope Maddi’s words to the New York Times hurt YOU:

“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. 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.”

I’m praying you will seek God’s face and have a change of heart. Graduation is over a week away; you still have time to DO THE RIGHT THING. You too can be redeemed from YOUR wrong-doing, and I pray you will choose to be.


Jenny Rapson

Child of God, Follower of Christ,  Sinner, Recipient of Forgiveness, Grace and Mercy, Wife, Mother of Three Including a Daughter, Pro-Life Advocate, Christian School Parent and


P.S.  AndMaddi, my darling girl, if you by chance read this: Jesus said “Go and sin no more.” I have no doubt He will be with you every step of the way as you raise this precious child. You have my admiration, support, and prayers.


Read this next: Brothers and Sisters, Unwed Pregnancy is NOT a Sin


Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.

Related Posts


Recent Stories