Almost everyone has heard by now of the school which disciplined a pregnant senior and would not allow her to go through the school’s graduation ceremony.
You also likely have heard of the thunderous and virtually unanimous criticism of Heritage Academy in Hagerstown, MD, from liberals, of course, but also from well-meaning pro-life groups who have openly and severely criticized the school. Some pro-lifers have even accused the school of promoting abortion by what they believe is the school’s harsh treatment of this student.
What you have not heard is a defense of the school. The school has a plain and unambiguous policy about sexual conduct, with the understanding that violations of that code of sexual purity will result in some form of discipline. Ms. Runkles, to her credit, has openly and honestly admitted that she violated a pledge that she willingly signed and deserved some form of punishment. And to her everlasting credit, she kept her baby rather than compounding her sexual sin with murder.
The school, to its credit, allowed her to finish the year and receive her diploma, which she received in a private ceremony sponsored by her church and family. While the school would have been entitled to expel her from school, they instead reasonably imposed a two-day suspension and allowed her to complete the academic year so that her pursuit of higher education would not be disrupted.
I do not know how this issue became a matter of public attention, but I am virtually certain that the school did not send out a press release to that effect, because in their compassion for Ms. Runkles they did not wish to expose her to unnecessary shame. So someone else, with obviously questionable motives, made this a public issue instead of allowing the school to handle this in a way that would preserve Ms. Runkles’ privacy.
She was suspended for violating school rules. How many times have we read stories about players being suspended from athletic teams for a violation of team rules? It happens all the time. This is no different. But this one is about sex and Christianity, which gives the left the opportunity to bash Christians as Pharisees and ridicule what they see as Christian prudishness.
The reality here is quite simple and straightforward. Heritage has a perfectly sound and biblical code of conduct, which every student signs freely and voluntarily, with an understanding that there will be consequences for misbehavior. No one has a right to complain when a school does exactly what it says it is going to do. The time to complain about the code of conduct was before a violation occurred, not after. I believe the school did exactly the right thing here, and should be commended rather than condemned.
If the school has a code of conduct, but refuses to take it seriously when it is violated, what good is it as a code of conduct? It’s meaningless, just words on a page, and useless as a tool to promote responsible and mature behavior.
Would members of the self-righteous left be as hateful, judgmental, and condemning of this school if the violation instead involved blatant plagiarism or cheating on the part of this student? I think not. They’re just looking for an excuse to beat up on Christians.
We must also ask this question. If this girl has been shamed by this school, who put her in this position? Whose actions are responsible for her predicament? We all should feel sympathy for her and her difficult circumstances. No one should take any pleasure in what has happened to her. But that does not mean someone else is to blame. Part of Ms. Runkles’ responsibility is to endure her discipline without complaint like an adult and accept that the responsibility for what has happened to her is hers and hers alone.
Also, we should note that the media and virtually the entire world are flagrantly guilty of exactly what they are accusing the school of: harsh judgment and condemnation. They sound like the real Pharisees from where I sit. Physician, heal thyself.