Maddi Runkles, the Maryland teen who got pregnant and was banned from her Christian high school's graduation ceremony, keeps making national headlines.
My GetReligion colleague Julia Duin earlier critiqued the New York Times' original story on this controversy and noted that key voices were missing:
What about the reaction of other families who are sending their kids to this school? Do they side with Runkles or are they glad she’s being made to pay for her mistake?
After reading additional reports on Runkles' plight — via major media outlets such as the Washington Post and Religion News Service — I must say that I am even more interested in the answers to the questions Duin raised.
The Post story notes:
A small Christian school in western Maryland is not backing down from its decision to ban a pregnant senior from walking at graduation next week.
Despite a public outcry and growing pressure from national antiabortion groups to reconsider, Heritage Academy in Hagerstown says that senior Maddi Runkles broke the school’s rules by engaging in intimate sexual activity. In a letter to parents Tuesday evening, school principal David R. Hobbs said that Runkles is being disciplined, “not because she is pregnant but because she was immoral. ... The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her morality that began this situation.”
Runkles, 18, is a 4.0 student who has attended the school since 2009. She found out she was pregnant in January and informed the school, where her father was then a board member, in February. Initially the school told Runkles that she would be suspended and removed from her role as student council president and would have to finish the rest of the school year at home.
After the family appealed, Heritage said it would allow Runkles to finish the school year with her 14 classmates but she would not be able to walk with the other seniors to receive her diploma at graduation. The family believes that the decision is unfair and that she is being punished more harshly than others who have broken the rules.
Later in the story, the newspaper includes these alarming claims: