Maddi Runkles, a pregnant teen at the center of school controversy.

After being punished by the school for coming forward, Maddi admits thinking that “maybe the abortion would have been better.”

18-year-old Maddi Runkles is a student at Heritage Academy, a small Christian high school in Maryland. Up until this past January, she was living the normal life of an American teenager. Like many other high school seniors, Maddi was looking forward to the spring graduation ceremony. After all, there is plenty to be excited about when it comes to graduation: picking out a dress, walking across the stage to receive a diploma, waving to proud family members in the audience – it makes for a grand affair.

But then Maddi got pregnant.

After briefly considering abortion, she made the decision to keep the baby. Now her school, which has a strict policy against premarital sex, has barred Maddi from participating in the upcoming graduation ceremony. No dress, no walk across the stage, no waving family members.

As further punishment, Maddi received a suspension and was removed as student council president when she revealed the pregnancy.

Going Public

Maddi initially sought to keep the story private, but eventually decided to go public because she felt betrayed by the school. She also worries about other girls who might end up in a similar situation.

According to a local media outlet, Maddi’s family wanted to “start a national dialogue about this type of treatment by private Christian schools — with young pregnant women that are ‘hidden away’ or ‘shamed’ — that could push more teens to abortion or even consider suicide.”

The school’s punitive actions have sparked intense debate among members of the religious community – some of whom think Maddi should be commended for choosing to keep the baby, while others argue that punishment was the right move because she broke her promise of abstinence.

A woman holding a pregnancy testCompeting Christian Values

Heritage Academy’s handbook sets a clear standard for students: that “no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of the marriage commitment between a man and a woman.”

But, as with many Christian institutions, it is also firmly pro-life.

This leaves students like Maddi in a black hole. She did not stay abstinent, which is a clear violation of the school’s policy. And yet, she decided against having an abortion – despite knowing there would be consequences.

Maddi hoped that her tight-knit religious community would be there to offer support. Instead, many turned their backs on her. Reflecting on the entire ordeal, Maddi admits that simply terminating the pregnancy might have been easier:

“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,” she said. “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.”

Dave Hobbs, Principal of Heritage Academy

Dave Hobbs, the principal of Heritage Academy

Principal Speaks Out

David Hobbs, the principal of Heritage Academy, maintains that discipline was necessary:

“Certainly, we are a pro-life institution, and certainly we are pleased that Maddi has chosen to keep her baby.” However, he explained, “her choice broke that standard of abstinence. It is a clear standard in the Bible. It is a clear standard in our handbook.”

But others disagree with the decision to exclude her from graduation. Kristan Hawkins, president of the pro-life organization Students for Life, argues that Maddi should be praised, not punished, for the decision to keep her baby. “She made the courageous decision to choose life, and she definitely should not be shamed.”

What do you think? Did Maddi Runkels deserve to be barred from graduation because she got pregnant? How should Christian institutions handle cases of teen pregnancy?

 

106 comments

  1. eric karukin says:

    What a great example she is to the schools other students. (NOT), NO WAY SHOULD SHE GRADUATE ON STAGE

    1. Miranda Allison Young says:

      She was unjustly punished. No school has the right to do that to any young woman. She is, indeed, a great example to other students because she is fighting this outrageous policy. She is to be commended.

      1. John Owens says:

        They had every right to do that. To do otherwise would be to encourage promiscuity, which is not an asset to any society. I feel bad for her, but she knew the rules. I’m also glad she kept her baby, as she should. It is just a tough situation. Institutions must have rules and they should not bend for everyone who breaks them.

        1. Martha Knight says:

          According to Jewish law under the OLD Covenant (Covenant of Law, Mosaic Covenant), the judgmental group of men bent on stoning a “woman taken in adultery” had “every right” to stone her to death! What did Jesus tell them about that “right”? Did you who condemn the woman miss that part of the New Testament? Are you still living by the OLD Covenant, setting Christ’s death for our sins at no value, preferring the Old Covenant? I would hate to have a child or grandchild of mine attend such a school or absorb those attitudes, or even he faulty doctrine and theology.

          1. C Duck says:

            I agree with what you said.

          2. LDL says:

            Wasn’t it her choice and her parents to attend a school with such rules.

          3. Martha Knight says:

            LDL, what does “her choice …to attend the school…” have to do with it? We assume the sinners who had been condemned by others, under the old Covenant of Law, had made choices that resulted in sin. But Jesus condemned their legalism and rigid enforcement, pointing them to the heart of God’s intention toward humans, summed up in TWO commandments, which subsume the Ten? Love God with your whole being, and love your fellow human unconditionally. He did not command us to LIKE all fellow humans, or approve of their behavior, but to want what God wants for them.
            Again, is the graduation based on her having achieved the academic requirements (passing 12th. grade, attaining the necessary credits, completing the required courses)? If it is supposed to signify that the student has also attained the moral standards, wouldn’t that need some proof beyond not being pregnant (or not admitting to being pregnant)? All that takes is effective birth control.

          4. Jim Winestone says:

            Martha, Martha. So sentimental. So feeling. So mislead. Jesus was teaching US how to act toward each other. Not how he as God functions. If you soiled the blouse you wore to work today, you could do what you like with it. Its yours. You could wash it, or toss it out, or burn it? Its up to you. We are Gods property. His t-shirts. He will do what he wants with his trash. He cares not if they’re offended, or handicapped, lowly, or high & mighty? He doesn’t care. He has a degree of holiness he rules by. Jesus mentioned Hell more often then Heaven. does that sound loving to you? Have you forgotten how he belittled the scribes & pharisees. Called them scum of the earth! Not very loving. Was it? Think he cared what they thought? Neither do we about your opinions. Have a great day though!

          5. David says:

            Please Martha read it again.

            In the mind of a hebrew when a man and a women lay together they are BOTH considered to behaving as a married couple, wether they have made any vows or not. Therefore according to the law the man and woman were required by the law (with permission of the womans father) to marry and he was not allowed to divorce her. The commandment is similar to what we call today a ‘shotgun wedding’. Its intent was to reduce sexual promiscuity or one night stands so to speak.

            On other hand the punishment for rape in the what you call the old covenenant is death. Back then the man if found guilty would be looked upon as if he had commited murder. Punishment for murder then was death.

            In cases of adultry both (not just the women) were punished.

            Anyway personally I think its stupid to prevent this young woman from graduating with her class. However if the rules and consequences were known to her before hand I dont think she has a leg to stand on. She should have known better and Id wager she most likely did but sex is a mighty powerful thing.

        2. Rene L. says:

          Thank you, Mr. Hobbs, for being such a great example of what being a Christian means!!! I hope this young lady finds much better examples in her life as you make me ashamed to use that designation!!! Pick up that first stone, sir, and make sure you do not miss!

      2. Tom says:

        Miranda…i believe you are absolutely right…the school has taken the position that orthodoxy is more important than love and consideration…Tom

        1. Joseph E Knopick says:

          Interestingly you assume because the school’s position is to a higher standard that they are not acting in love. It is because of this love they are holding her a higher standard of behavior. What you are saying is that if they love her they would accept anything she does. Would your parents love you less if you had disobeyed their standard of behavior, and choose to ground you and you couldn’t go an event with your friends? Seriously, this about holding people accountable for their behavior. It is unfair? Only if they hold another student under the same circumstance in a different form of discipline or acceptance. but the integrity of the school leadership would be under scrutiny. The school is a private religious organization,beholden to a certain set of rules regarding behavior. One such rule is in regards to sexuality and marital acts. Accordingly to the religious rule on such to be engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage is a sin. If the school did not suspend her from graduating because of this they would be saying “We have this rule and others, but they don’t matter. Do whatever you wish.” This is not right. Even God said of his First Created, “You Son of the Morning, How have you fallen.” As God cast him from heaven, For he conceived in his heart that he will do whatever he pleases, and desired to Rule heaven. This is the same rebellious temptation he gives to us all, “Do as you will please. It is okay as long as it’s in love.”

          1. Joseph E Knopick says:

            Also, keep in mind that Maddi is not the only student that the school has to take care of. As the school authorities love all those in their care, their act to hold Maddi to the same higher stand, is the example of corrective discipline they would hold to the others.

          2. gerrydiamond says:

            OK, are we judging her academic performance or social morality. Academic performance should be the prime and sole merit being evaluated. So if she has passed the academic grades via exams, assignments and so on. Then she should be allowed to graduate, or allow her grades to be transferred to an educational establishment that will allow her to do so. We should not judge anyone on matters of personal social morality, maybe except those standing for public office. So let her graduate for goodness sake.

      3. Fay says:

        I agree with you. I live in Australia and in my own opinion no one has the God given right to treat another human being in this appalling way. What about the father of the baby does he go to the same school? has he been punished? Where is the love people?

      4. Rev. Jo-An Josephine says:

        Miranda Allison Young: I agree with your comment. It’s also a double standard. They only “know” she engaged in premarital sex because she got pregnant. How many boys at that school engaged in premarital sex WITHOUT showing any signs of it? Sorry, a double standard that has NOTHING to do with her academic success! It wasn’t all that long ago, when Christians practiced the art of procreation at a much earlier age to ensure survival of any one lineage. If it happened that the child (under age 18) got pregnant out of wedlock, the priest was summoned and the couple wed regardless of HIS age.

        A double standard I still say!!!

        1. Leah says:

          I agree. Maddie’s boyfriend should also not graduate. And since there is so much emphasis being put on honor, every student should be asked if they have engaged in premarital sex and, if so, refused a diploma.

          Hopefully, the handbook clearly spells out what constitutes sex! It’d be a shame for anyone to miss graduation because they admitted to anal entry, when vaginally speaking, that’s not really sex for her, although it would be for him, of course. Wait. That would also apply to fellatio, then, right? What if he just fondled her breasts while they’re kissing? Is that sex? Or what if they masturabte together, but they keep their clothes on? Everyone’s still a virgin, then, so no problem.

          Maybe what the school needs is a quiz entitled, “Have You Had Sex According to Our Definition?” 1. Have you ever kissed a a romantic partner on the lips? This is a risk factor for premarital sex. If so, proceed to question 2.

          2. Have you ever seen a romantic partner partially or fully disrobed in the context of being on a date or otherwise unchaperoned? (Low cut clothing does not apply, unless there is evidence clothing was altered to increase the level of nudity.) This is a level two risk factor, but you might still qualify for graduation depending on what happened next. Go on to question 3.

          3. Have you ever made physical contact with a romantic partner not in the context of wholesome and traditional ballroom frivolity, but with the intent of stimulating your libido and/or your romantic partner’s libido past the level of made-for-1950s-television wholesomeness? If yes, go on to question 4.

          4. Describe in detail such contact in at least five, double-spaced typewritten pages, including the names and grades of all partners with whom you may have had suspicious contact. Spelling counts. Admin will review your essay to determine your graduation eligibility. Include a box of wine and a pack of cigarettes with your submission.

    2. Annette Kochevar says:

      That was drastic what the school did. She was honest and admitted her situation. She could of graduated and not told anyone. The Lord loved and forgave the harlot, He said, “I forgive you go and sin no more”. She shouldn’t be shamed and humiliated for her decision. She needs counseled, loved and forgiven. I am sure she is precious.

    3. Leah says:

      My sister graduated high school with a baby under her gown because I encouraged her not to abort her baby. Twenty five years later her son is a medical student and a joy to our lives. If we’re going to encourage someone to take a difficult course of action love requires we support and love them.

  2. Miranda Allison Young says:

    When I was in the 11th grade in high school, I graduated in 1956, a friend of mine, her name was Joyce, got married and pregnant. The school kicked her out. They said she was a bad influence on the other students. This was not right then and it is still not right now.

    1. Joseph E Knopick says:

      Honestly the School that did this was correct. It was then as it is now a poor influence on others. I doubt that the school in this case did so in any form of love and compassion. They most likely tossed her out like some bag of trash. Not an uncommon practice I’m sure then. So how many underage pregnancies were there in your high school days? Now we say , oh your pregnant, I’m sorry, let us accept you and keep you in school, and give you everything. We even go so far as to hand out condoms and half heartedly tell them that abstinence is the better choice but it’s okay if you have sex, here is a condom. We cannot stop you from having sex and if you are pregnant or have an STD then we have a support system that is set up for you.

      That girl you knew in high school, really could use love and helpful support. It would have been nice if there were programs then to help her finish her education and raise her child. (the job of her family and church community). Yet I do acknowledge the shame and shunning that was associated with premarital pregnancy. Keep in mind because of this we do now have those support systems in place both civilly and in church communities. Yet , it still does not make the choice to have intercourse outside of marriage right, and like this girl, Maddi and others should be held to the understanding that this behavior is unacceptable.

      Why, mainly it is a direct consequence of disobedience of God’s Holy Law. Also, the Law is not just there to condemn you, but also there to show you what choices that can bring uncomfortable and and even harmful effects to you and your life. The Law helps keep you from harm. The unborn child in his/her-self is not harmful, but Maddi’s life is completely change by the pregnancy.

      What about the Love of God? Well, first, God’s Love is in His Law just as much as his Wrath. Oh yes it is his love that says, Don’t do this or you’ll suffer the consequence. Yet only His Wrath is what we suffer in the Law. The Law Condemns. God’s love come in His Grace. Grace that is conveyed in the Person of God the Son, the only begotten Son of God, The Incarnate, Christ Jesus. The Grace that is by the Death Burial and Resurrection of Jesus. The Cross and the empty tomb has saved all by the Grace of God. All are forgiven. That same grace given in Baptism and actively given in the Sacrament, the giving of the Wine and Bread. The Grace given to us as we pray, and we pray for forgiveness, and for the will of God in our lives.

      How should the School respond to Maddi, Simple, in love and grace, with forgiveness in their hearts as God has shown them. Yet like God there is a higher standard. A standard that corrects and teaches. Who would learn the correct way to behave if the rules are not regarded as important as the love everyone claims.

  3. Joseph E Knopick says:

    One thing I need to point out, Maddi did not just “Get Pregnant.” as the article sites the first turn in this story. It is not like she got Cancer or caught a cold. Two persons, Maddi and whom ever was with her, entered the sexual congress what we all knows has it’s greatest consequence, Right Mom?

    Anyway, enough of the hair spiting hairs.

    It is a school run by a church that does not condone what the church says is sinful behavior. They should forgive Maddi and her baby’s father for the act of fornication and absolve them of their sin. However if this is the stance of the church, they cannot go against their own teaching and allow her to walk on graduation day. This would be condoning the behavior that lead to pregnancy. She is not being punished for being pregnant It’s a disciplinary action for the sin of premarital sex in the eyes of this church.

    Far be it from me to think any christian group would punish someone for being pregnant. Though this does happen. She should be again forgiven and then the church should help her deal with a pregnancy at such a young age. The Child needs as much love and support as the young mother/parents do. . .

    1. XaurreauX says:

      I am a card-carrying atheist and while I vehemently disagree with the school’s philosophy the young woman and the father of her child should have known the consequences of their action. [I have yet to see the father’s name revealed.] The best way to resist discrimination by a religious is to matriculate at a secular one.

    2. AtomAnt says:

      It’s actually “splitting hairs”. Sorry. Just had to let you know.

  4. Bill Thompson says:

    The school has rules, Maddi made a choice, the public is outraged and regardless of all the hair splitting going on in this post – the baby comes first! Maddi made a choice to keep the baby so she needs to put that baby in front of all else. Maddi broke the school rules so she needs to accept the expulsion. The school needs to surrender her diploma and wish her well. The public needs to support the school and Maddi. Maddi’s family needs to support her as a new mother. I too bare a grudge against my high school because I did not follow the rules and lost something important to me. Maddi will live, the public will keep on judging but most importantly the baby should be front and center on this even is that means personal sacrifices have to be made. 18 years old is a big girl and she wasn’t decieved by the school. God bless Maddi and the baby and may the school’s reputation remain in tact.

    1. Joseph E Knopick says:

      I most assuredly agree Bill. The Child comes before all.

  5. Robert Harrison says:

    My personal feeling is that, when the commitment to attend the school was made, it carried the understanding that certain behaviors would not be tolerated. Thus, there can be no standing in favor of obvious rule breaking. I am concerned that no mention is made of the young man and what happened with him because his culpability needs to be publicly displayed as well. In the same way that graduation has “once in a lifetime” connotations, so, too, with the bringing of life into the world. Forgiveness without consequences is what makes salvation a big deal. To make forgiveness without consequences a matter of everyday life cheapens that salvation. So the lesson taught needs to dramatic and harsh, for the people involved in this particular situation and for all those who follow!

    1. Joseph E Knopick says:

      You are on the money.

  6. Carol Amina says:

    Yet another example of so called Christian love and grace….they did her a favor in that she can now see the cruel nature of hat church group. Hopefully some kind caring group will love and embrace her and her child..
    Also I don’t recall seeing anything about the boy who was part of her pregnancy. Did I miss it? They need to punish him equally if that’s how they think.

    1. Joseph E Knopick says:

      Oh yes Discipline is so cruel. Cruelty is not to show reproof or corrective discipline. Only a fool spares his children from correction.
      This is merely a set back. She’ll still graduate just not with her friends, and she has a small one to take care of. This is a change that will make her young life harder. Yet with love and support. She’ll get on just fine. Yet one day she’ll remember the love they did show.

    2. AtomAnt says:

      Maybe because he didn’t go to the same school? Maybe he is not even in school?

  7. Copeland Larry says:

    God has the same rules as the school. Do like he says or go to Hell God gives us a choice don’t do what he says burn in Hell your choice!!!

    1. Roger Bardovi says:

      Tell me, Larry, who decides the will of God? A bunch of measly mortal men. They “interpret” the teachings of the Bible and apply them however they see fit.

      You’d think God would be compassionate enough to allow this young woman to attend a ceremony commemorating years of hard work… And consider this: what if it was God’s will for her to have a child, and he’s up there somewhere facepalming while a group of men dole out a punishment for her “crime”?

      1. Copeland Larry says:

        Thanks for your comment. It is plain that you do not know anything about God or his writings but I wish you well inspite of your lack of knowledge

        1. CJ Mitchell says:

          Larry, at exactly what point did you self-determine your status as “holier than thou”? I’m just curious. And, you mentioned “God or his writings”… someone please correct me if I am wrong- but this is the first I’ve heard of God writing anything. I don’t claim myself a biblical scholar- however, I am pretty familiar with the Bible; and I do not recall the book of GOD. I’ll name a few of my favorites- the book of Genesis, the book of Luke, the book of Matthew- And so on and so forth. But- no, God didn’t pick up a pencil and write, nor did God pick up a chisel and carve into tablets, that was Moses, remember? No depending on how literal you care to interpret the many many many versions and translations of the holy bible, some believe that Moses carved the words of God into the tablets (10 commandments) – My personal belief is that the 10 commandments are good rules to aspire to live by in general, and perhaps Moses was inspired by God to create them- but unless I missed something in Sunday school- I don’t think God is known for his use of the pen or pencil.

          1. Brother John says:

            Good post, CL.

            The 10 Commandments are one of the most glaring contradictions in the Bible and weaken the already crumbling foundation of Christianity. Christians love to quote those from Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5, but find it difficult, if not impossible, to explain the 10 that are given in Exodus 34.

            The clincher is Exodus 34:28 “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.” There are hundreds of commandments from God in the OT, but only the 10 in Exodus 34 are specifically identified as “the 10 Commandments”.

            Although “the Lord” is quoted as saying…. “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke”,
            some are similar and some quite different.

            Was Moses hallucinating after no food or water for 40 days? Did God change it’s mind or forget what was written initially or is this just another example of the many errors and contradictions that riddle the Holy Bible?

            To any of the fervent Christians who choose to reply, kindly focus your explanation on Exodus 34:28.

            Exodus 34 also contains the following attempt to portray the maniacal monster God as benevolent, but reveals it’s true nature by punishing future generations for the sins of their parents in place of the often touted compassion and loving forgiveness. Thankfully, this god, like all gods, only exists in the minds of their believers.

            6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

          2. AtomAnt says:

            Neither of which wrote the Bible. I think it was on papyrus scrolls and thin reed brushed or reed pens. Before the printing press anyway.

          3. Rev. Jo-An Josephine says:

            To: CJ Mitchell
            May 25, 2017 at 5:19 pm

            Very eloquently said. I also believe that you are absolutely CORRECT. The Bible(s) are writings of men not God.

            Thank you.

      2. Rev. Jo-An Josephine says:

        Roger Bardovi
        May 25, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        Roger, you are RIGHT on the money there my Friend. THANK YOU!!!

    2. Jim Winestone says:

      Exactly! Abortion bothers me deeply. but my Pastor taught me something long ago I’ll never forget. An aborted child goes to Heaven. That child, allowed To live a full life span, probably doesn’t? Especially if raised by that mother. Who feels her personal interest are more important then what God or his church thinks or believes. This young lady is supported here by other women. Imagine that? Women, thy name is Eve. The fall began with you, and it will end with you still thinking yourselves queen of creation.

  8. Charles 'rents says:

    God says “if you ask for forgiveness, you will have it”
    He also says “judge not that he be not judged”
    She made a mistake, but presumably it did not affect her school work. She should graduate!

    1. Joseph E Knopick says:

      She did not make a mistake, She made a choice, a choice brought on by passion, but a choice non the less. The teen couple at anytime could have stop and said let us wait. Choices bring consequences.

    2. Joseph E Knopick says:

      She is not being Judged, but disciplined. Her prior behavior is in question not the girl. Yes she should still graduate, but should not walk with her class.

    3. Jim Winestone says:

      Wrong Charles. Sin! Not a mistake. And that scripture is taken out of context all the time! What it says is don’t judge on things you yourself are guilty of. That would make Gods people hypocrits in the worlds view. Charles, how could anyone ever be saved if no one points out their sins to them?

  9. Greg Harden says:

    Schools are supposed to be where you get your scolastic knowledge. Church, the Bible, and home are where you learn religious teachings and about life.. Religious schools should only teach you how to become a pastor, priest, Minister, etcetera. The Lord would not belittle her for being human, but help her understand her choices and to live her life and teach her child to choose a different path than she chose at that age in order to become a responsible adult.

  10. Martha Knight says:

    Did Adam and Eve “get married” before they mated? Will God’s will be followed in other respects concerning this pregnancy, and how the child is raised? Is the child’s father, equally in violation of the school’s no-premarital-sex rule, receive any censure? Isn’t the graduation ceremony a public acknowledgment of each qualifying student’s successful completion of the ACADEMIC requirements for receiving a high school diploma? Does anyone suppose the school officials KNOW how many or which students have engaged in sex prior to graduation? They only know which female students are pregnant, and know they are, and admit it (or are unable to conceal it). Those who were “caught” are neither more nor less virtuous tthan those who “sinned” but were not “caught.”

    1. Joseph E Knopick says:

      Yes, “A man shall leave his parents and cleave unto his wife and the two shall be as one flesh.” Look the ceremony of marriage you understand is not necessarily the manner in which Adam and Eve were married. However, God walked in the Garden with them. So, their union was officiated in conjunction with being a husband and wife in the site of God. Them form of how that was done is not spoke of in the scripture because it is understood by referring to Eve as Adam’s wife. They were husband and wife before they had children, which was only after they were expelled from paradise.
      So yes the most Holy union existed before the fall in sin. A perfect union, Husband, Wife, and God.

  11. CJ Mitchell says:

    I hope I am not out of turn by saying this in this forum; but I see this as another horrible example of Christian hypocrisy. I am an extremely spiritual person, and I consider myself Christian, for the most part- but I have difficulty practicing organized religion with people that treat other people with such hate- that poor girl will be psychologically damaged for life thanks to the extremely poor judgement of that school’s administration. Christianity is supposed to be a religion of practicing love and forgiveness- and yet, as a gay man, I, too have been shunned from a Christian church due to my sexual orientation. And I didn’t discuss my sexual orientation while in church- however, people from church saw me outside of church with my bf at the time- and I was severely given the cold shoulder- and to top it off- I am also an accomplished pianist, and had volunteered MANY times – free of charge – to play for church services and other church functions– once the news spread (like wildfire) that I happened to be gay- I was told that my volunteer services as the regular church pianist were no longer desired- and while no one “banned” me from the church- the nasty comments made about me under the breath of the so-called “Christians” at that church made me feel disgusted to be in THEIR presence. I am a Christian- but my primary spiritual philosophy is as follows: Treat others as you would like to be treated. My thoughts and prayers are with you Maddi- don’t let those hypocrites at that school get you down. And I am so glad you had the courage to come forward with this story- it shows that you have a truly solid – good sense of character.

    1. Rev. Jo-An Josephine says:

      To: CJ Mitchell
      May 25, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you for sharing. Again very well said. I am absolutely sorry that you are treated the way you are by so called Christians. I too do not follow organized religion because there are too many radicals. I absolutely loathe people who commit sins upon others but justify their life by attending church on Sundays and being “forgiven” for said sins. Being forgiven for any sin does not give one permission to repeat it.
      I to am a spiritual person. I believe that GOD is within….not held in some building(church) or book (bible). It is up to the individual to hold ourselves to a higher standard and stop blaming religion (or satan) when we falter or fail.

      I do wish you the best of luck, life and love.

      Blessed Be.

    2. lisette says:

      But she is not repenting in the least. A girl from a good home with a solid upbringing who should know better chose to behave like like a streetwalker. Now she is refusing to make it right by getting married. She condemns her child to growung up in poverty, likely to become a permanent dependent on the state. I think the school was kind to her, they could have expelled her without a diploma but they let her finish. Shame is not nice, not kind, but it was once very effective in persuading girls to keep their legs closed instead of taking on a lifetime of poverty, instability and welfare dependence. Morals did have a social and economic purpose

      1. Carol Amina says:

        lisette,
        OMG you have got to be kidding. I had a child young, and I put myself through college and became a social worker with a masters. My daughter also had a child young and like me chose not to marry the dirt bag that was the sperm Donor. She is now a prominent Attorney. … to say a child born to a single mother will end up “in a lifetime of poverty, instability and welfare dependent” is crap! She had a human moment, her parents are not to blame unless they held her down and made her have sex with that boy. And who knows if the boy was a student there or not I dont recall it saying. Your kind of Morals and the way you talk is just dark ages and hateful.

        1. bonnieomerjohnson says:

          Thank you for your comments, Carol. I can only assume the person who commented above you is uninformed and does not know what she is saying.

      2. Leah says:

        Wow, am I glad I’m not your daughter! Those are some harsh lines and big leaps, Lisette.

  12. Jess Martin says:

    So should a school that runs more like a club receive tax $$$? LOL. I hope they don’t get one red cent.

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      I wonder WHAT JESUS CHRIST would comment on the way MANY, PRIESTs,Revs.,MIN.Preachers, TREAT PEOPLE like DIRT for their OWN POLITICs, LIKE tRUMP, JESUS CHRIST !!!

      1. Carol Amina says:

        Oh John!…..that was just what I was thinking…thank you!!

      2. Joseph E Knopick says:

        So when was Trump Ordained?

    2. CJ Mitchell says:

      Christian schools/academy’s do not receive tax dollars- They are supported by parents paying tuition for their children to attend. Christian schools (I’m 99% certain) are considered by the IRS to be classified as 501-c3, non-profit organizations because of the school’s affiliation to the church – often sharing the buildings – and also sharing the same EIN as the affiate church. Christian schools often do not follow the same accreditation standards as public schools- which are supported by tax dollars. For 2 years in elementary school my parents enrolled my brother and I into a local private Christian school- until my brother was psychologically abused by his second grade teacher- at which time my parents immediately withdrew my brother and I from that hell hole – and re-enrolled us back into public school. My brother and I were academically- way -behind the other students in the public school because of the 2 years we spent in the Christian school- as the Christian school had a lower standard for acedemic learning than the standards set in public schools- eventually, with a lot of private tutoring, we caught up to our peers in public school– Sorry- I am NOT a fan of Christian schools. This story really “speaks” to me when I think back on that two year nightmare of my childhood.

      1. Beth K says:

        CJ Mitchell, a 501(c)3 non-profit effectively is receiving tax money, since their income is untaxed and they do accept and receive services from federal, state, and local government. They do not pay local property taxes, yet they receive everything from fire protection to roads – free of charge. It is true that they don’t get the same support from the Federal nor State government – although there is a movement to change that.

        1. CJ Mitchell says:

          Based on that response, Beth, I think it’s clear that some – or all of the following is true:
          1) you attended this type of school as a student
          2) you are employed at this type of school as a “teacher”
          —- This comment isn’t even worth the effort to type. Go get your GED. You’ll have some studying ahead, but knowledge is power! Be strong!

  13. Kirk says:

    I graduated from a Catholic high school and loved it! Much higher standards than the public high school I initially attended! The public HS was known as the “baby factory!” I hated that place. The Catholic HS had a lot of rules, but I followed all of them, so I could graduate from that school. I didn’t have sex back then because I was afraid I’d get some girl pregnant and possibly mess up three lives. Rules are rules, breaking them has consequences you may not like. I wish this girl the best of luck and a happy life for her and her child! She’ll get over not attending the graduation ceremony and her friends will still be her friends. A female doctor I know he’d two kids before she was seventeen (not twins) and she still became an MD after dropping out of high school. Nobody’s life has been ruined, damaged, etc. in this girl’s case. Hopefully, her boyfriend mans up and joins his girlfriend in not walking across the stage and effectively supports his child!

  14. Kathleen Baird says:

    So many shining examples of “good Christians” choosing Old Testament Bible passages to support their hatefulness while they are ignoring the New Testament teachings of Christ who preached love and forgiveness…
    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
    “Judge not, lest ye be judged.

  15. Pastor Pete says:

    Frankly if you decide to go to a private Christian school then this is surely no surprise? Yet another example of Christian love and tolerance. And I really object to anti abortionists being referred to as “pro life”.

  16. Francisco Rosaly says:

    Absolutely not‼️ This is a form of ill intended, retaliatory and revengeful punishment (⚡️) perpetrated on a vulnerable young person by some gnat-brain angry adults 😤😡😤 with religious myopia🤓. If she actually needed some sort of punishment (…and I’m not sure she does), then life’s hardships will more than take care of it as a consequence of becoming a young (…and more than likely) unprepared parent. What she actually needs now is support from her elders, and not this sort of cockamamy concoction of consequences which will definitely cause irreparable emotional damage, and mark her for life. Not nice (❗️) , especially coming from these so called ‘religious’ authorities 😇.

    Worst yet, since it takes “two to tango” 💃🕺, then the father of the baby, who carries as much responsibility as she does, gets off scot-free. Imagine that❗️ He gets to experiences the joy and satisfaction of graduating 👨‍🎓 with his peers, while she doesn’t 😔. That’s totally unfair‼️ These, so called religious leaders are clearly DISCRIMINATING against women for being chosen by God to carry the evidence…and as we all know, the ‘Law of Man’ 📖 (…and in my opinion the ‘Divine Law’ 📜 as well) forbid discrimination. They should be ashamed, and also processed by the authorities to the fullest extent of the law. ⚡️🔥

    1. Carol Amina says:

      Francisco Rosaly… great post love the passion and I agree it is clearly Discriminating putting the girl at fault and what about the boy? Also I can bet this girl didn’t chose her school it was her parents who did. Having a baby young is hard enough without adding that kind of junk on top of it.

  17. Bernard Moleman says:

    This harlot is a national disgrace and she should be expelled. I hope her boyfriend can find a PURE and UNTAINTED woman in the future.

    1. Carol Amina says:

      Wow….what a horrible thing to say! So you are saying she should be punished and the guy is not guilty?….the poor women in your family must be extremely oppressed and depressed. What an ass

      1. Joseph E Knopick says:

        That is a terrible thing to say. Bernard, how heavy a stone you must carry. Before you cast such stones, look carefully there maybe a heavier stone looming over your own head.

        This is the example that Christ said “Judge not lest ye be judge.” The School is acting in Discipline, a form of Love. Bernard is acting in Severity, and hatred, in his Judgement. What of the boy that impregnated her? Seriously, You hold him to be acceptable yet you blame the girl. Shame Shame! on you Bernard. May the Grace of God find it’s way into your hardened and corrupt heart.

        May God forgive me for my own judgement .

    2. Rev. Jo-An Josephine says:

      Excuse me Bernard….What makes you think that the boy in this story ISN’T the one that made her “unpure” and “tainted”.

      WOW! Let me guess, you’re one of these MEN that think a woman should be punished after she’s been raped for “allowing” her attacker to rape her?

      Carol is right, you are an ASS!!!

    3. Leah says:

      Lol! Bernard, you crack me up.

  18. rebadams7 says:

    Let us remember first and foremost that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God . The school can set reasonable expectations however I think that there should be some sort of oath taken just prior to graduation that you didn’t break that rule so that all those other students who broke the rule can be excluded as well . Her biggest problem is that she came clean about her situation. If she hadn’t told anyone and kept silent No one would have stooped her. so in that spirit perhaps the school should ask everyone to raise their hand before the graduation and only allow those Who would swear or affirm that they had not broken those vital standards to walk. She did break a school rule and losing some privileges because of the broken Rule seems reasonable- losing the entire graduation seems to be an unchristian like response. Some may find this harsh but Mary the mother of our Lord probably had to put up with a lot of the same thing and it was only the kindness of her fiancé Joseph that spared her any further ridicule. Speaking of fathers what about the young man ? You realize that since there is no outward sign for a man when he has created a new life there is no way except by their own honesty that the young men ever have to worry about being punished at the school for the same issue. That and that reason alone is enough for the school to reconsider their stance on not allowing her graduation. Removal from A leadership position seems to be a fair consquence based on the rules and on the philosophy of the school, however I think banning from graduation is a bridge too far. A discipline far too harsh and certainly not in line with being the light in the world, that we who profess Christianity are called to be. As for the quality of education in any school whether public or private it is up to the family to monitor and to take appropriate steps if they feel their children’s needs are not being met. Our society has a plethora of stories about young men and women being banned from this important right of passage for the most ridiculous of reasons. As long as this young lady retains her diploma,she can take comfort in the fact that they cannot take her education away from her and she may move forward. The world thinks poorly of christians in circumstances like these. I have had some personal experience with situations along these lines and it shocked many people when I said well no it’s not how I wish things would’ve been but no one is perfect and it’s our best to treat the situation with kindness and to protect the innocent involved I have had some personal experience with situations along these lines and it shocked many people when I said well no it’s not how I wish things would’ve been but no one is perfect and it’s our best to treat the situation with kindness and to protect the innocent involved . I wanted to be the light and not the vengeance.

  19. Zea Weis says:

    The meaning of GOD…Good orderly direction. I came from a Christian school and I left and never went back. The Christian church has no reason and compassion at all…They are only for themselves..When priest can violate young boys and can stay working with children and then disrespect a young women that is caring a child!!!! Hippocrates..This organization just want to keep women ignorant and controlled…More victim’s of the church.

  20. Tom says:

    To me, it is obvious why the girl was condemned, and the boy was left alone…the visual fact the girl is pregnant is absolute proof that the “teachings” of the school failed, and the school does not want to be embarrassed…the boy is invisible, as you see no change in his appearance…by throwing out the girl, the school is clearly demonstrating its lack of understanding of love…does the school really believe it is upholding the standards of love by rejecting this young girl?…all she has done (actually, all she and the boy have done) is to change their lives, and introduce a baby into the world…if this is not understood by standards of love, then the school is at fault, not the girl…but the school is too embedded in its totalitarian views…sad…

    1. lisette says:

      The boy likely does not attend hat school. I agree he should take resposibility for his part- by marrying her and supporting the child.

      1. Carol Amina says:

        holding the boy responsible for part of the care and upkeep of this child yes but marriage? that’s crazy people should never marry due to getting pregnant. They had sex and unfortunately a child was conserved. Why sentence them all to being stuck together as if they must pay for some kind of crime.

  21. Tom says:

    Joseph…respectfully, i suggest you meditate on the meaning of love…it does not have standards, regulations, rules, individual interpretations…love is caring, regardless of the circumstances…it is not qualified…Maddi needs love that will help guide her forward; not punish her…punishment is the expression of judgment, and judgment is to be avoided…how would you treat Maddi if she were your daughter?…Tom

  22. Joshua Hansen says:

    I do not condone premarital sex especially between kids, however if she was kicked out so should her sexual partner. In my church all are welcome no matter what though

    1. Joshua Hansen says:

      I should say I do not believe she should have been kicked out. The church teaches forgiveness yet this Christian based school does not teach forgiveness as Jesus forgives

  23. Brother John says:

    Here’s some further information about Maddi and her treatment by Christians, which seems unloving, unforgiving and ungodly. I expect there was parental/family/church encouragement to attend a “Christian” school. Those folks should shoulder some of the responsibility for the deplorable outcome.

    It appears as though the father is not a student at Heritage Academy.

    http://heavy.com/news/2017/05/maddi-runkles-heritage-academy-hagerstown-maryland-pregnant-students-for-choice/

  24. Pastor April Entrekin says:

    It’s not our place or anyone elses to judge that young lady , she should be able to walk with the rest of her class . God is the olny one that can judge an Christian to day do realize that. It says so in the Bible .
    Thank you
    Pastor April Entrekin

  25. Joanne Martin says:

    Wow nothing ever ceases to amaze me…Upon reading the headline to this article I was ready for “The Christian Porn Star” redundancy all over again. However, the thought that a student be refused the right to graduate after such academic success due to pregnancy in this day and age just about sent me tumbling off my stool…..We are discussing a written code of conduct that was presented clearly to each student as well as parent upon enter the school, it is no longer just a matter of a unwed teenage student having a baby but rather a direct violation of well presented school codes. It is not a matter what we believe is correct as individuals regarding her decision to keep the baby or even her decision to engage in premarital sex. This is a Christian high school invoking the punishment set forth by the rules of the school.

    On the same token however, it also means that slander this girl and passing judgement on the situation she is in and whether or not you believe her to be a sinner or not is also necessary as part of the argument. No matter what you think about this young ladies choices, whether you are against them or supportive of her, the article questions the schools decision to ban her from school activities.

    So for the sake of staying on topic and not running off an a tangent that is COMPLETLY insignificant as to what the article is calling into question; if you are not going to be open minded at least read the entire article and not just the parts that send you into an uproar and direct your comments on that.

    1. C Duck says:

      Well said.

    2. Leah says:

      Hear, hear! The school has a right to its own rules and to enforce them, no matter how ignorant, misguided, and stupid they may strike me. I won’t be sending my kids there! But that doesn’t mean I have any jurisdiction to judge the school. Christians fundamentalists have a right to their interpretation of the Bible, to form a school based on it, to set forth rules and dogma without judgements from outsiders who have different ideas. If anything, the contrast provides me with a richer knowing for myself that sex is good and can be celebrated between consenting partners, no matter their ages; that receiving a rich and joyful sex education is a right and responsibility; that supporting and loving children born into my community–no matter what the circumstances of their birth–feels good and right to me; that I want to live and raise my kiddos in a community of folks who are of similar mind.

  26. C Duck says:

    I send hugs to the teen. You all who are judging her should be ashamed of yourself. Condemning~judging~criticizing shaming others is what is wrong with the world.

    Peace~Love~Be Happy for others.

    As for the school & Principal & their words in their policy……Mmmmmm seriously we are talking about a 18 year old young lady making a decision to keep her baby. She could have chosen to terminate her pregnancy. She chose to have her baby. Hugs to her & I wish her the best with her life. You all should be more supportive & understanding. Like my Momma would say, “if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all”

    I will say I am Pro-choice & us as females should always have a choice of what we choose for what’s right for us,

    It’s just awful how people can shame another person. Just embrace & Love each other.

  27. Tom says:

    Nicely said, C Duck

  28. Mystic Angel says:

    Sorry Charlie, but I’m with the school on this. Anytime you are dealing with a private school and people are paying an arm and a leg for private schooling, then either you follow the rules, or you get kicked out! People pay to send their kids to a school they feel will promote their values and beliefs, by allowing her to graduate while pregnant devalues what the school, parents, and other students believe while encouraging more “main stream” beliefs. If they wanted that, they would send their kids to public school!

  29. Tom says:

    Sorry, Mystic Angel…i am saddened by the fact you seem to feel that love, caring and compassion are superseded by “school rules”…obviously, the school does not understand…Tom

  30. Mark s Kramer says:

    Forgive and you will be forgiven

  31. Robert Walimuminun says:

    I am going to need more information. An aborted child goes to heaven seems like a cool thing but I am hard pressed to find clear biblical support for this statement. Perhaps you could share your Bible proof for those of us who don’t have your understanding.

    Also, we really need to take the emotions out of this because keeping a contract is the entire basis for the young lady’s situation. She knew in advance. She violated anyway! Contracts are made to eliminate potential problems that emotionalism and sentiment can cause.

    Christianity says that God will forgive but that we must also render into Caesar what is Caesar’s.

  32. bonnieomerjohnson says:

    This young woman was not punished for having premarital sex; she was punished for getting pregnant which is hardly a pro-life stance. Had she had an abortion, she would be granted full participation. I find such a stance conflicting at best, but the attention already given the case is divisive and definitely pro-abortion for any other students rather than making an example out of a student leader to ward off premarital sex. The ramifications of this case are more likely to result in more abortions (and emotional after-effects on young women reared in such absoluteness) rather in than less sexual activity. The most respectful way to deal with the young woman is for school officials to ignore the situation as it is not their business to police student sexuality, only student behavior at school functions and as relates to the academic well being of students.

    1. Greg Harden says:

      Well said. Bravo……

  33. Michael W Maurizio says:

    Did she graduate or just denied the opportunity to walk across the stage and get a diploma? Big difference to me. If she graduated then she received what she earned. To me a big difference between graduating and attending the ceremony. Keep in mind that she knew the rules when she enrolled in the school. I simply don’t understand why people get so upset when someone that violates the rules faces the consequences of violating them.

  34. william Fox says:

    Accepting responsibility for one’s actions and doing what is right does not negate the consequences.

    1. Tom says:

      William…and that includes not being loving and caring toward Maddi…Tom

  35. Martha Knight says:

    Jim, I wasn’t talking to YOU, but to others who had expressed opinions claiming the New Covenant (Testament) justifies harsh, even fatal, punishment, for women having committed adultery. The quoted teachings of Jesus are full of covenant language, particularly references to marriage covenant. Indeed there was great importance assigned to betrothal and to marriage, and even to the final step of marriage, without which the betrothal, and later the feasting and even the ceremonial vows, did not result in a binding marriage. For those who do NOT base their conclusions on what Jesus taught, it his teachings on covenant and on marriage do not matter, nor do the qualifications of individuals in that crowd, to carry out the sentence of stoning. No one questioned the woman’s guilt– not the woman, not the men who called on Jesus to support them in their condemning and punishing behavior. But Jesus indicated that they could not claim justification for their participation. He also challenged their notions of some sins justifying death sentences while others did not. Those who do not think it is significant that Jesus died to enact the New Covenant might find some Old Testament writings instructive: Hosea, in which a prophet was told to continue to be a loving husband to his wife, who was engaged in prostitution.

  36. Alan Bowie says:

    She knew the rules. If she violated the rules (and clearly did), some sanction is required, but her hard work towards graduation can not be ignored and her diploma can be given at a private ‘ceremony’, w/her parents, friends, etc. I hope she has a wonderful life with her child, and at least did not commit abortion. That says a lot about her morality, and in a Christian school, that certainly should be appreciated.

  37. Martha Knight says:

    David, I agree it is stupid to prevent the young woman from participating in her high school graduation on the basis of her pregnancy. This is an artificial consequence, which the school claims is based on God’s rules. That would be based on the OLD Covenant, the Ten Commandments, the Law. Christ abolished that, and told his followers that there are TWO commandments in the New Covenant: love God with our very being, and love our fellow humans unconditionally. So people, like the school officials in question, need to find some basis other than obedience to God for such punishing, condemning behavior.

  38. Bonnie Kleinke says:

    I’m sure that the young woman wasn’t the only one who violated the no sex policy. I know several ‘good Christian’ girls who ‘only’ had oral sex and consider that not having sex. Did they ask all of the other seniors if they had had sex? Did the exclude every student that had sex from participating in the graduation ceremony?
    You can’t single out one student because they have undeniable proof she had sex.

    I attended a Christian college with a no drinking policy and yet it was well known fact that every Wednesday people would meet in one of the dorms’ lobby to go out drinking. This went on for years (they probably still do this). None of those students were ever disciplined. These Christian institutions are very hypocritical.

    I also agree that attending the school was probably her parents decision and she didn’t have a say in the matter. I chose to go to the college and when I broke the rules it was on me.

  39. Benjamin says:

    NB: The girl was censured but the boy was not. Just goes to show this was all about male hegemony rather than Biblical law.

  40. Amber Fry says:

    Her life has already drastically changed. To deny her this honor of struggling through school while pregnant is not something that should be punished. Education matters for her future. Taking that accomplishment to the trash is a far greater travesty than breaking abstinence rules. Two wrongs do not make a right here.

  41. Ken Guilbault says:

    Hypocrisy is the hallmark of Christianity.

  42. inga says:

    i was raised in an elementary christian school, went to public high school, and later was unwed and pregnant at 19.though no longer living at home, my parents thought they should send me away to a “little place far away that would take care of things for me, and i could come back not pregnant and no one would know,

    years later, after ignoring their suggestions, i have the GREATEST son ever !! (27 years old tomorrow).

    now the church thinks i should come back. you know, attendance is down and they are struggling, and new members are always welcome.

    i am obviously not christian. i broke the rules, and accept the consequences. i am no longer part of their club, even if they now have changed their minds. its not really theirs to do. its god’s and he is not big on rule breakers.. but i was still raised under the christian influence and i learned other practices that were good too.

    though a single mom myself, i dont promote premaritual sex, christian or not. but i understand it.

    as a single mom.. i caan assure you, maddi has years of struggle ahead. this is only her first hurdle.

    i changed my title from single mom… to just plain MOM. the single part was diverting peoples attention. but as a mom, they admired and supported me. (until the found out.. bahahah). i have no man ?? well.
    well what ?? than they cant steal him from me ?? lol. bahahah.
    single women arent the only ones who have sex. married ones seem to like it too.

  43. inga says:

    the site is censored much like the news. i know this as my story has not been posted. so that stands to demonstrate that this site is working to form impressions, even if it may not look that way.

  44. inga says:

    the short posts are printed evidetally. the long ones are not neccessarily.

    1. Tom says:

      Inga…how many of your posts have been censored?…Tom

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