Pregnant teenager - Maddie Runkles Banned From Graduation Ceremony -
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Pregnant teenager – Maddie Runkles Banned From Graduation Ceremony

Maddie Runkles

A pregnant US teenager – Maddie Runkles, branded “immoral” by her school and barred from its graduation ceremony is to have her own event, organised by her parents.

Maddi Runkles, 18, who attends a small private Christian school in Maryland, has been told she is not welcome at the event, on 2 June, because she must be “accountable for her immorality”.

Instead, her parents have decided to organise a special party for their daughter the following day.

The decision by the board of governors of the Heritage Academy, in Hagerstown, has drawn criticism on social media from those who say the school is showing no Christian compassion to the teenager.

“Heritage Academy has opportunity to demonstrate love & grace of Jesus. Instead choosing judgement & shame,” tweeted @WineyKnitter.

screengrab of Winey Knitter's tweetImage copyright @WINEYKNITTER TWITTER

Dawn McQueen-Shaw also reprimanded the school board for not allowing Ms. Runkles to “walk”, take part in the graduation ceremony, writing; “My Jesus would not prevent Maddi Runkles from walking, He would’ve walked with her! Unlike the board full of hypocrisy.”

screengrab of madshaw's tweetImage copyright @MADSHAW TWITTER

And “proud Christian” Ta Mika wrote: “The Bible says all fall short of God’s glory. What happened to truth and grace?”

Ms. Runkles, who had been president of the student council, is among the highest academic achievers in her year.

The teenager told CBS she had briefly considered having an abortion but “did the right thing” in deciding to keep her baby, a boy.

Various people lobbied on behalf of Ms. Runkles, including her father, who eventually resigned as president of the school board over the matter.

She was immoral

Scott Runkles had still been on the board when his daughter was suspended for two days but stepped aside from being directly involved in the decision about her attendance at the graduation ceremony.

Mr. Runkles, a bank vice-president, told the New York Times: “Typically when somebody breaks a rule, you punish them at the time they break the rule.

“That way, the punishment is behind them, and they’re moving forward with a clean slate.

“With Maddi, her punishment was set four months out.

“It’s ruined her senior year.”

The Runkles familyImage copyright: Maddi Runkles
Maddi Runkles  (center right) poses with her brother, Evan, mother, Sharon, and father, Scott

Pupils at the school are expected to agree to a code of conduct that includes that “no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of the marriage commitment between a man and a woman”.

Ms. Runkles also had support from anti-abortion organisations, including Students for Life.


Maddi Refused To Name Father

In a statement, the school’s headteacher, David R Hobbs, wrote: “Let me clarify some facts.

“Maddi is being disciplined, not because she’s pregnant, but because she was immoral… her immorality is the original choice she made that began this situation.”

Mr. Hobbs denied he and the board were “harsh, cruel, hard-hearted men”, adding that on the night of the graduation ceremony, he wanted “God to be glorified in a dignified manner”.

Mr. Runkles told the New York Times his family had arranged their own graduation party for his daughter on 3 June.

Maddie Runkles says she will bring up her son, who is due in September, with the support of her parents.

She has refused to name the father but has said he does not attend Heritage Academy.


Culled in all totality from BBC



  1. Sheila Bullock

    May 26, 2017 at 12:02 am

    This young lady deserves praise, if this is a religious school they must have missed the part about forgiveness in the Bible. Do they also feel the Virgin Mary should have been punished? God in his infinite wisdom has given this young the greatest gift he can bestow on mankind….the gift of motherhood and the joy of bringing a new life into this world! God bless you Maddie!

    • Martins

      May 27, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      Thank you for choosing to stand by her. Yes, she may have made a mistake but casting her out is not the best stance to take.

      Please share and come back again.



    May 26, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    This happened to me In 1975! I am horrified this can still happen today. Forty years ago I was SHUNNED by my classmates, talked down to by the schools advisor, a NUN, actually kicked out of extracurricular activities. And told I could not walk down the aisle with my classmates because I was pregnant. It was the WORSE TIME IN MY LIFE and to add to it I had to also deal with being branded with the “A” on my chest by “christians!” Jesus loved sinners and outcast, but not these christians?? During the hardest time in my life I should have been SUPPORTED by school leaders, shown love and understanding. For gods sake we were and are ONLY TEENAGERS. BARELY out of childhood!! How can anyone justify this treatment of others? I have been haunted by these experiences ALL MY LIFE and you can see that it STILL hurts!
    If I could talk to Maddi,I would tell her that she is an awesome and incredible individual choosing to give LIFE to her child and not have the easy way out by abortion who likely some of her classmates have chosen to do as was in my high school days. Standing up to these “leaders” will give you the strength you will need to raise a child. Do not ever think that you are not worthy and wonderful because those people are wrong.
    I’m just horrified to read this, still judgement happening in our society.

    • Martins

      May 27, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      Hello Melanie, I am sorry you went through so much and I salute your courage to keep your baby. He/she must have grown some now!

      For Maddi, all she needs now is understanding.

      Thank you for choosing to stand by her. Yes, she may have made a mistake but casting her out is not the best stance to take.

      Thanks for reading and please share, and come back again.


  3. Tiya Bedford

    May 26, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    This exact thing happened to me at VCS w Mr Hobbs as principal. No open letter.just shame and disgrace.I was not the first nor was I the last. This sent me away from God and church for 10 years. It was devastating. The entire church and school family disowned me and I had been there since preK. I jad a few supporters but surely not what I needed at the time. While I understand his moral mumbo jumbo I believe she should have to answer to her Lord and Savior not her private school bc her parents did have to pay her tuition, she should be treated with the respect and dignity of being prolife AND continuing her education. Period. Judge not lest ye be judged. I have raised my children as non denominational christians as a result of this cult like atmosphere. I just walkd cap in gown 2 weeks ago for college. I was over the moon excited bc i never had that chance on highschool. Shame on these people of authority for treating this girl this way 24 years later. So all the seniors that are sexing drugging getting abortion who are doing it on the downlow get to graduate yet this young girl had sex premarital sex and doesn’t deserve to keep her dignity and privilege of cap and gown. I am forever dissapointed in this behavior and this decision will change her life path as it did mine. Thank God I have matured and been able to accept that judgement and ridicule. I prayer this girl has the support to be the best mother God wants and needs her to be. The natural consequence of raising a child while she is maturing is more than enough consequence her life.

    • Martins

      May 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Tiya, I am glad you were able to pick yourself up and have made something good out of your situation. It’s also good that you were able to find “God” again after the incident.

      Let’s keep encouraging young ones around us that may have made mistakes so we do not push them away from love.

      Please share and come back again.


  4. Adele Reiswig

    May 27, 2017 at 3:55 am

    I congratulate you, and your family.

  5. Claire Reiswig

    May 27, 2017 at 3:56 am

    I congratulate you and your family.

  6. Lon

    May 27, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Christians what a bunch of hypocrites. They steal all holidays from pagans, then BECOME idol worshippers holding Christ, Mary, Joseph & some totally inappropriate ghost above god. Mary screwed a ghost?? Expect people to believe that sh*t?

    SHAME ON CHRISTIANS for not loving they neighbor, not caring about the poor, and BTW Mary was no frickin’ virgin either she was knocked up by Joseph and would not be able to graduate from YOUR Christian school? Laughable.

  7. Celia

    May 27, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    This young lady earned her diploma with hard work. Her diploma is not based on morality it’s based on the hard work she did to achieve her diploma. No one has a right to deny her to attend her graduation. If the board thought she was immoral they should have kicked her out of the school so that she can go to another school and be able to attend graduation but, to institute punishment at the graduation is petty and immoral on their part. They have no problem taking her parents money.

    • Martins

      May 27, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      Good thinking! It’s more or less like using medication for a bout of fever that already passed.

      Thank you for your comment and please come again!

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