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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Pregnant student defies graduation ban (Page 1)

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philnotfil
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When I first starting reading this it was just sort of a why would the school do that, good for her kind of thing, but the last paragraph got me a little mad.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/05/19/pregnant.student.ap/index.html

quote:
A pregnant student who was banned from graduation at her Roman Catholic high school announced her own name and walked across the stage anyway at the close of the program.

Alysha Cosby's decision prompted cheers and applause Tuesday from many of her fellow seniors at St. Jude Educational Institute.

quote:
"I worked hard throughout high school and I wanted to walk with my class," she said.

Cosby was told in March that she could no longer attend school because of safety concerns, and her name was not listed in the graduation program.

The father of Cosby's child, also a senior at the school, was allowed to participate in graduation.

I don't know the rest of the story (there has to be more to it, doesn't there?), but if she couldn't graduate and he could there is something hugely wrong.
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Dagonee
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It sounds like she missed the last two months of school.
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Pelegius
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Sexism, alive and well. Unless she raped him, then they should be equaly treated.
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The Drake
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quote:
The letter goes on to say that the school's decision is based on the policy written in the student handbook that is given to each student at the beginning of the school year. The rule states the administration can decide if and when a pregnant student needs to be homeschooled based on a number of factors, including medical safety, physiological well-being and social issues.
Sounds like fair warning to me.

Get knocked up, no Pomp for you.

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Dagonee
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If medical safety was the reason, there's no reason for the boy to be excluded.

If it wasn't, then that's the issue that should be looked at.

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The Drake
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The boy isn't pregnant, despite recent parlance where couples say "we" got pregnant. Therefore, the paragraph in the handbook clearly doesn't apply to him.
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Pelegius
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Obviously not, if the reason was medical. How many months pregnet was she?
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drewmie
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So what applies to her? To my knowledge, the school has yet to explain why continuing school had anything to do with her medical well-being, and "social issues" is just vague enough to provide for ignorant, sexist bigotry.

BTW, where is the school rule of "Get knocked up, no Pomp for you." And are you actually defending that kind of pathetic rule? On what basis? Unless she had a doctor's order, there is no reason a pregnant woman should not be in school.

[ May 20, 2005, 07:35 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Pete at Home
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If they are doing it to make an example of her, then they should have made the dad sit out as well.

It does seem odd that a Catholic school would adopt a policy that would motivate girls to abort.

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Funean
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And even if she were on bedrest for some portion of the last days of school, is that any reason to exclude her from commencement ceremonies, if her doc gives the okay?

I smell a rat.

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Funean
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quote:
Get knocked up, no Pomp for you.
Fail to get an abortion, no Pomp for you.
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Pete at Home
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Jinx
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Funean
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Yep. [Smile]
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Dagonee
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quote:
To my knowledge, the school has yet to explain why continuing school had anything to do with her medical well-being
And the school won't explain it to you or me or anyone else in public. Nor do they have to.
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OhPuhLeez
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Ridiculous - it's because it doesn't "look right." If the boy was "showing," he wouldn't be there either.
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The Drake
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It is a private school. As far as I'm concerned, they can expel a student for having a bad haircut.
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Pete at Home
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Agreed. We don't have to approve, and the School doesn't have to explain anything to us. At least in America. In Canada, it's another law entirely. A gay Canadian boy used the local government to coerce his private Catholic school to admit him to the school prom with a male date. It's over, school was forced to let him (despite the broken Canadian government promises about preserving freedom of religion), but the school is trying to sue the government retroactively, to get a declaration saying that they had the theoretical legal right to say no.

[ May 20, 2005, 09:03 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Ridiculous - it's because it doesn't "look right." If the boy was "showing," he wouldn't be there either.
If we know who made her pregnant, then the kids know it as well. And if the other kids know it, and she's not there, and he is, then believe me, he's showing.
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Mike_W
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For the record, I believe that was a public Catholic school board (an unfortunate artifact of our history here in Ontario) that got sued. Not sure it would have mattered. Our Charter of rights is only about 30 years old, and it is still getting tested. The courts do their best when there are two competing ideas. There's much yet to shake out.
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Pete at Home
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Sounds like a different story. The School I heard of was compelled before the case had time to get to court.
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Pete at Home
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Like I said, it's a very sad thing, because in spite of the lack of substantive constitutional religious rights, Canada used to be the most religiously tolerant of countries. Far better than the US, and far far far better than Europe or anywhere else.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Like I said, it's a very sad thing, because in spite of the lack of substantive constitutional religious rights, Canada used to be the most religiously tolerant of countries. Far better than the US, and far far far better than Europe or anywhere else.
I predict hate speech laws will be applied more broadly as time passes. There is a religious exemption in the Criminal Code, but I imagine it will be interpreted as narrowly as possible.
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Mike_W
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It's all over the Internet if you care to Google it. Compelled by whom might be an interesting question for you to answer if you still think it is a different case. Trust me..the cops don't come and escort anyone to their prom if they just ask for it.

We are still very religiously tolerant and there are guarantees in the Charter to keep things that way. We have a situation in BC where there is a debate rergarding a religious community that practices polygamy. But, we also, for better or worse, have gone down the road of protecting those with alternate sexual preference from discrimination. Like I said, when two ideas compete, the courts do their best.

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Mike_W
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Hate speech is an area where I think we've gone too far, tilting the balance away from free speech. Sadly, I share Jason's view that this will get worse before it gets better (if ever). But, hope springs eternal.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
I predict hate speech laws will be applied more broadly as time passes. There is a religious exemption in the Criminal Code, but I imagine it will be interpreted as narrowly as possible.
That's what happens when religious expression is not constitutionally protected. The narrow interpretation that seems to be evolving is that religious expression is only protected in actual clergy members, and when the religious utterances are completely required by the orthodox religious establishment. If you're not a member of the clergy, the excemption doesn't seem to apply to you, and some are arguing that a clergyman's religious expressions are not protected unless the statements are backed by official and orthodox church doctrine.

For example, if I said that same-sex unions are OK but that marriage is between a man and a woman, my statement has no protection, for two distinct reasons.

1. I have no protected religious speech rights because I am not what Canada considers a clergyman (even though I baptise and administer the sacrament of my church, and teach a doctrine class at church services) because Mormons don't pay our ministers, and

2. Even if Canada did consider me a minister of religion, I have no protection because my statement is not perfectly in line with what my church teaches, since my church disapproves of same-sex unions as well as same-sex marriage.

[ May 20, 2005, 10:01 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Mike_W
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We shall see.

Not sure such a narrow interpretation has been even close to tested (e.g. having to defend a statement as innocuous as the one you made). I hold out hope that reason will prevail. But, as I said, if I had it my way, we'd have approached hate speech differently (e.g. less if at all).

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Pete at Home
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One might argue that the Bishop's speech currently on trial is so innocuous. According to many pro-ssm folk in this board, defining legal marriage as a union of man and woman is using the state's "coercive power against homosexuality." And that is almost the Bishop said. That the state should use its coercive power. That's the argument that "ReligiousTolerance.org" uses to justify the legal action against the bishop. That urging for state action against homosexuality is a form of hate speech.

So if gay rights groups say that A=B, and that B=C, doesn't that imply that A = C? Hell, some on this site accuse me of "persecuting" gays by defending the definition of marriage, and one attorney that posts on this site actually said a few years ago that it was bigoted for me to say that a child needs a mother and a father. Will the court entertain such actions?

I'd better stay on this side of the border until I see how this plays out in the courts. [Frown] Heaven knows there are people who daily construe statements I make on this board as hate speech, and you, Jason, and canadian are living proof that my words are being disseminated into Canada.

[ May 20, 2005, 10:34 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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OhPuhLeez
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Pete - so true. He is absolutely showing - a shunning would be in order [Wink]
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RickyB
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Vouchers, ey?
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Funean
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I was thinking while reading this about the indoctrination girls receive about being pure or at least not promiscuous (depending on whether you like your training with a religious flavor).

I imagine that the greater emphasis on female discretion is due to the fact that females bear the burden of one of the primary consequences of indiscretion; i.e., pregnancy. There's also a kind of shrugging-off of male promiscuity, because of the assumption that males have a greater sex drive, or one that requires more variety.

I wonder whether we'd be more successful if more emphasis were placed on indoctrinating *boys,* since girls at least have a concrete thing to worry about already, while it's all really kind of abstract to the boys.

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Mike_W
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Pete,
Someone might accuse you of lots of things. And you can call them innocuous. But the basis of the compliant before the Alberta Human Rights Commission is based on more than definition and equivocation. Having said that, I still hope the commission rules against the complainant.

It remains to be seen how the chips fall. But, the process needs to be followed - rule of law and all.

Were I a betting man, I'd say you could probably cross the border without fear. And there's no risk we'll deport you to a third country to be tortured ;-)

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ender wiggin
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I'm ressurecting this thread, I seem to have missed it.

The Drake, Dagonee, Pelegius:
How can you possibly defend this decison? How could the school decide that there could be "a medical reason" that a woman should not walk across a stage whille pregnant? Pregnant women are now advised by thier doctors that they can run during pregnancy, they work in my office until the eighth month.

The school, private or not, has absolutly no right to exclude her from the cermony due to pregnancy. Since the father of the child was not excluded from the ceremony, they are not making a statement about pre-martial sex. They are making a statement about the unacceptableness of pregnancy, which is a medical condition. Such a policy discriminates against women, as only women can become pregnant. There was a time when women teachers had to quit thier jobs on pregnancy as there condition would be an unacceptable reminder of female sexuality.

I would expect opposition even from religious conservatives, as Pete said, this policy encourages abortion.

I'm not surprised that this happened. I am suprised that people on ornery would defend this.

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javelin
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Ender - whether the decision is good or bad, a private school has every right to make that choice, and to enforce it. I'll fight tooth and nail to stop anyone from changing that fact.
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ender wiggin
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The private school does not have the right to descriminate against women. That's what this is. We've already established that this is not about pre-martial sex as her boyfriend was allowed to attend. So she is not being censured for her decision to be sexually active, she is being punished for being pregnant. Pregnancy is a medical condition that is natrual, and only affects women. Thus she is being discriminated against due to her gender.

What if this school tried to expel a student for being HIV positive? Or diabetic? Or for being black? Should a private school have the right to make that choice?

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javelin
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Yes. And private schools most definitely have a right to discriminate against women - at least in the USA - ever heard of schools that are for women only?
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Funean
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Hmm, much as I agree with the right of private institutions to set their own standards and regulations, I agree that there must be some sort of consistency and adherence to the laws of the land.

If it's about premarital sex, the boy should have been excluded as well.

If it's about "safety" or health (read: liability) then they should be able to show that her physician judged that she was not able to attend classes or commencement, since pregnancy is otherwise not considered a disability under ordinary circumstances (she might have needed to skip certain chemistry labs, or vigorous exercise late in her term, but regular classes should have been fine).

Since no other explanation seems forthcoming, I can only conclude that she was excluded because she was visibly pregnant (betcha she could have walked if no one could *see* that she was preggers).

Does this school exclude other sinners from graduation exercises? Or have their families removed from the premises by the police?

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javelin
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Again, I feel their decision was wrong (the policy, in the first place, is short-sighted to say the least), but they have every right to make that policy, and stick by it. They did not stop the young woman from graduating - only from attending the ceremony.
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ender wiggin
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Schools can designate themselves as all-male or all-female, this is not the same as descriminating against women who already attend the school. What if a school had a policy that only males could be on the student council, or make the honour roll? Or had a policy that women have to get a higher score on the same test to get the same mark? Would this not be discrimination?

Do you feel that the school would have the right to exclude and HIV positive student from the ceremony? Or a black student?

If not, then what is the difference?

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javelin
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Ender, we are talking about different degrees here. They aren't excluding students with HIV, or black students. What's the difference? Do you think they should be allowed to tell a mass murderer that he/she can't attend graduation? That's the degree of difference in your examples and the actual issue at hand. The school published their guidelines. The rule was that you cannot attend graduation if you are pregnant. I don't like the rule, but it's no less valid then saying "You can't attend graduation 'cause you painted graffiti on the wall." or whatever. It's in the rules, and it's hardly the same thing as saying "We let black students come here, but they sure as hell won't GRADUATE in the same ceremony as us proper white folks."

[Roll Eyes]

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ender wiggin
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So now you are comparing pregnancy and being a mass murderer?

If they excluded her for having sex, that would be one thing. I would't agree with it, but perhaps they would have the right to do that. That would compare to you graffiti example.

But they are not excluding her for having sex. They are excluding her for being pregnant: which, for a female, is a natural consequence of sexual activity. Therefore they are punishing her for a medical condition. Which is against the law, and no less discrimination than to exlude an HIV positive student from the ceremony.


This school says that it is ok to paint graffiti on a wall as long as you happen to be male, only if you happen to be female is it a crime.

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