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.

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

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