The World is Watching: The Drama of one Christian high school vs a student

Craig HueySanctity of Life13 Comments

Parents send their kids to a Christian school for a better education, a Christian worldview curriculum and a culture of students and teachers representing Christ.

They won’t get these in a public school.

But what does a Christian school do when a student violates its code? How should it respond?

Millions are now watching the drama play out at a small Christian high school of only a graduating class of 15 students.

One of its students, Maddi Runkles is being disciplined for becoming pregnant and not allowed to participate in the graduation.

Maddi voluntarily admitted she was pregnant and refused to get an abortion.

“Maddi is being disciplined, not because she’s pregnant, but because she was immoral,” wrote David R. Hobbs, administrator of Heritage Academy, about senior Maddi Runkles.

“Heritage is also pleased that she has chosen to not abort her son,” he wrote. “However, her immorality is the original choice she made that began this situation. Secondly, she will receive her diploma that she has earned.”

He noted that all students sign a pledge based on Philippians 4:8 (including language about “whatever is pure”) that “extends to my actions, such as protecting my body by abstaining from sexual immorality and from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs.”

But not all agree.

There is a 45 second video of portions of an interview with Dave Hobbs, the principal of Heritage Academy.

Click here to watch!

The world is going ballistic against the school.

And many Christians agree.

Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins said her organization remains concerned about the example the school is setting.

“By banning her and her alone, the administration and board collectively decided to make a public example of one student,” Hawkins wrote in a statement, “and has either intentionally or unintentionally communicated to the school community that pregnancy (not simply premarital sex) is a shame and should not be observed within our school community.”

In an earlier blog post, Students for Life said the academy’s treatment of Runkles will be remembered by her classmates because it “wasn’t with love.”

The school disagrees:

“A wise man told me that discipline is not the absence of love, but the application of love,” he said. “We love Maddi Runkles. The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her immorality that began this situation.”

Here is Maddi being interviewed on Fox TV. See here.

13 Comments on “The World is Watching: The Drama of one Christian high school vs a student”

  1. There are ramifications to our actions. There was a code of conduct and Maddi broke it. If the school doesn’t follow through with their code of conduct, then it affects their testimony and shows the code isn’t important.

    If the boy who got Maddi pregnant is also a graduating student, was he also decline a chance to participate in the graduation? He broke the code too.

    A tough life learning lesson indeed.

    “Above all, my brothers, do not swear, not by heaven or earth or by any other oath. Simply let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, so that you will not fall under judgment.” (James 5:12)

    1. Debbie, that’s exactly right. What is almost always left out in cases like this is, what about the guy who got her pregnant? Very rarely does a girl/woman get pregnant after just one intercourse. So she was probably having sex many times. And what about the other students who were probably having sex, too? The school should never compromise it’s values. If it does, then why have values in the first place? These students all need to learn this lesson, that values MEAN SOMETHING, not just words you spew into the air.

  2. I emagine the Lord cried at Adams fall at the Garden, no going back but forgiveness. We all suffer for there actions. I’m sorry for all those passionate mistakes that made this happen as Adam wept at what he did.

  3. It’s important to not compromise. As parents we must set those examples and when our children fall short as we all do, we must remind them that there will always be consequences and we have to except them. We can not try to get them out of those consequences, even though it is difficult. Are hearts break but God is a God of love, Mercy but also of justice. Sin has to be addressed. It’s hard on all involved, it’s not easy, but living unto God, to please Him, we’ll let’s just say what the bible says. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life. Difficult is this way, never the less this is His way and we know His ways are perfect altogether.To those who love Him His commandments are not burdensome. We all fall and He will forgive but we still have to
    Reap what we sow. All my love to Maddie and her family. To the administration stay strong. My prayers to all, God bless. United in Him.

  4. I would only support this if they banned all students who broke the code in anyway from graduating. Then that is fair enough, those are the rules.

    But if this is about discipline, she was already disciplined with suspension and loss of her role in student government and she gave a public apology before the entire school. There is nothing else to discipline here. She has already repented and was forgiven for the sin of immorality. Still being pregnant is not the sin. It is one thing if she was not repentant and was defiant or she was holding this up as something exciting instead of a consequence of her actions that God can redeem in the blessings (and hardships) of a child.

  5. the maelstrom of criticism against the school’s actions is coming from those who don’t want to admit there is such a thing as “sin” or acknowledge that there is a creator to whom they will be accountable to.

  6. This is for Maddie. Hello Maddie. My name is Margie. About 4 years ago my son was going to highschool, senior year. He was set to graduate. One day about 3 weeks before graduation, he was feeling very down because his uncle had passed away and he was not able to go to the funneral. Some fellow students made remarks about how depressed he looked and made other comments that escalated and they made a remark that he looked liked he wanted to shoot himself. Being upset at thier lack of compassion, in his grief and anger he said a statement he should not have said. They called it a terrorist act, and he was suspended and kicked out of school. As his mother I wanted to defend him. Anyone who truly knew him, knew he was no terrorist. Nevertheless he did make that comment and he had to take the consequences. It was an extremely difficult time for him , me and pur family. He was know labeled abs he could never go back, parents would never let him move past this. And I can understand why. They don’t know him like we, his friends and family, do. I went through this difficult time with him and gave him encouragement. But as much as he wanted to go to graduation, grand night and graduate where he went to school for the last 4 years and he also had a part ina play at school, that he wanted to do so desperately, he would not be able to do any of that. It was a hard lesson for him, we all have to Reap what we sow. He has to be so very careful of his words. We all do. And many wanted me to fight it, but what lesson would my son learn. He knew what he did was wrong. So if intervened and won, he would not have come out the wiser. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way. It was a lesson we the family where thing to teach him for a long time. He thought his words were funny and cleaver. The word of God says, not to speak hastily or no coarse jesting. I had to think of the long term, this lesson for him ,was a the time, for him to learn it. The reason I’m sending you this message is to say I understand, I’m not judging. I want to encourage you that even though it’s so very difficult, don’t try to get out of it but learn from it. God bless you, from this mom’s heart.

  7. There are always consequences for your actions. This issue brings up questions such as what about all the girls and guys who are having sex outside of marriage and not getting pregnant because they are using birth control? NOBODY is going to admit, in that school, that they are having sex. Why? Because there are consequences, such as this girl is going through. It’s the difference between saying and signing a pledge of abstinence and then having sex ANYWAY. There’s always free will and lying to contend with. It all comes down to Values or lack thereof, usually instilled by the parents and/or peers. You can go to a “Christian” school and not have “Christian” Values. Nobody wants to experience pain in the form of consequences, so…….they don’t say anything or they lie. That’s the human condition.

  8. No one’s mentioned the young man in this situation. Is he a student at this school? If so, is he also being held to the same standard, or is it just being applied to her? If the latter, then the school is being unfair to her.

    Also, while the school does have rules and standards, are they doing anything to help this young lady?

  9. Yes, I understand the necessity to fulfill a pledge AND the importance of enforcing a pledge. There is no doubt that there are consequences to one’s actions. My difficulty with the school’s response is balance or, perhaps, proportionality. The graduation is an end to what is usually 4 years of learning. During those 4 years, many correct choices helped Maddi learn. It seems to me that one wrong choice actually brought Maddi to a precipice of death and destruction. But what she learned AND embraced about God and His standard of righteousness, love and forgiveness led her to repent and accept the consequences of her actions and commit to God with greater understanding and determination than ever before. That seems to me to be cause for a ceremony of celebration . . .
    Hmm, you know, a Graduation Ceremony.

  10. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, where are your accusers, after they left because they too were guilty, Then he said to her, neither do I condemn you, go your way and sin no more. Maddi has and will continue to be reminded of her sin for many years to come and I think this is more punishment than most of us have suffered for our sexual sins, whether in thought or deed, and so I think showing mercy and grace would have the best outcome in this case. Hopefully the code book has provision for showing mercy. If it doesn’t, it needs an amendment! Boy, do we need mercy! Maybe Maddi would be willing to talk to the girls about the importance of staying sexually pure until marriage and when the young man confesses his guilt he can talk to the guys. God Bless!

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