Heritage Academy, a small independent Christian school in Maryland that has been facing public criticism over its decision to bar a pregnant student-athlete from participating in her graduation next month, broke its silence Tuesday to clarify that the student was being punished for her "immoral" premarital sex, not her pregnancy.
Her emotional declaration took place in the school auditorium.
Maddi told WUSA9 she considered an abortion early on in her pregnancy.
"For other girls going through this, yeah it's scary".
The statement goes on to describe a statement that "every student from 5th grade to 12th grade signs" saying that they will abstain from "sexual immorality and from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs". "I tried to make it right, but was still shot down", she continued.
"I would love to attend because my best friends will be there and I want to share that with them", she said.
Her father, Scott Runkles, said he resigned from his position as a member of the school's board because of how his daughter was treated.
Runkles' parents and classmates, together with several others, asked Hobbs to let the pregnant teen continue her classes in school and graduate.
"I know at the end of the day that I made the right choice and in a couple of months I'll have this little sweet reward just to remind me that I did the right thing", Runkles told Crawford, after showing her a 9-week sonogram of her baby.
The first time she saw an ultrasound picture of her son, "I cried because it was the first time actually seeing his face and it made it really real", she says.
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When the school found out that Runkles was pregnant, she was stripped of her leadership roles.
Runkles told the Times that she knew she would face punishment when she chose to announce her pregnancy to her classmates, instead of hiding it or having an abortion.
But she says her pride and joy is the object of scorn from her school.
But Hobbs said the school is standing its ground about the June 2 ceremony for Runkles' class of 15 students.
By banning her and her alone, the administration and board collectively decided to make a public example of one student 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. "Even though we love Maddi, even though we forgive her, there's still accountability".
The private academy, a non-denominational conservative Christian school in Hagerstown, said Runkles violated the school's code of conduct by engaging in premarital sex.
For now, she's focused on finishing school strong, maintaining that 4.0 GPA, and then she'll take college courses online to stay close to her family.
Still, Runkles isn't holding her breath waiting for the school to reconsider.
"You can't be pro-life, but then refuse to support the girl that keeps her baby", she said.