Shantelle Hicks says she was humiliated when staffers at her New Mexico school forced her to disclose the fact that she was pregnant during a school-wide assembly.

“It was so embarrassing to have all the other kids staring at me as I walked into the gymnasium,” said Hicks, according to news affilate KOB. “I didn’t want the whole school to know I was pregnant because it’s not their business, and it wasn’t right for my teachers to single me out.”

Initially, 15-year-old Hicks was kicked out of school for being pregnant. But after lawyers from the ACLU told administrators at Wingate Elementary School–a K-8 public boarding school for Native American children–that it was illegal to deny Hicks access to education because she was pregnant, they let her back in. However, two weeks later, she was forced to go before the school and admit she was pregnant.

With the assistance of the ACLU, Hicks recently filed a lawsuit against her former school. She asserts they violated her constitutional rights to education and discriminated against her because she was pregnant. The lawsuit alleges that school officials told Hicks she would be a “bad example” to others and asked her to leave the school, but she wanted to stay.

According to the Huffington Post, “The lawsuit was filed on March 6th and seeks punitive damages and declaratory relief for violation of constitutional rights to equal protection and of the Title IX prohibition against sex and pregnancy discrimination in education.”

What do you think about the school’s decision to out Hicks in front of the entire school?

  • Stephanie

    She isn’t that embarrassed if she has her child with her during a press conference that the world will see. Oh please.

  • Natalie

    Well of course she isn’t embarrassed anymore after she’s been “outed.”

  • Tonton Michel

    Eventually everyone would have none but to publicly humiliate her like that when there was an opportunity for a, cliche yet real, teaching moment was cruel and unnecessary on the schools part.

  • Jinx Moneypenny

    Disgusting on the school’s part. Bad enough she’s pregnant at 15, but to create a spectacle of someone’s life… smh.

  • JessicaMercedes

    She is not a circus act. She should not have been shown off to the school as if she was part of a freak show. The whole point was to make her feel embarrassed and to discourage the other kids from going her route. Had she volunteered to send her classmates such a strong message, then that would be one thing. But her to be forced into being a walking public service announcement is, at the least, insensitive.

  • Nicole

    Well everyone was going to find out eventually!

  • http://Roslynhardyholcomb.com Roslyn Hardy Holcomb

    I’m trying to figure out what she’s still doing in elementary school at 15. Aren’t you supposed to start high schoolmat 14 ?

  • chanela

    It was wrong what the school did but “i dont want anyone else to know cause its not their business” ummmm people will see your giant belly anyways tho…..

  • EbonyLolita

    The belly would have spoken for itself. It was NOT the school’s place to shame this girl. She probably felt her own sense of shame to begin with. Even if she didn’t they were in the wrong. Denying her education based on her pregnancy is unconstitutional & I hope this lawsuit teaches the school that!!

  • Humanista

    it was K-8 …”elementary school” is defined differently different places.

  • Libby

    Yes the school was wrong. However I don’t think I would want my elementary child in school with a pregnant teen. People have gotten use to this and it has been normalized . I wish the girl and the boy who got pregnant would have to go to a young parents school.

  • http://www.melleau.net Mel

    Exactly! I think everyone would have figured out she was pregnant when she started waddling through the school halls with a giant belly.

    Whatever happened to being a child? Eight year olds want to do drugs and stab people, 13 year olds want to runaway to South America, and 15 year olds are trying for babies? What is going on?

  • Buttons

    Lol That was funny. But good point. At 14 students are typically in the 9th grade and at 15th, the 10th grade.

  • Buttons

    I agree that the girl shouldn’t have been humiliated in front of everyone. But, some of these young girls that are pregnant carry themselves as if their pregnancy is a badge of honor. They need to know that teenage pregnancy isn’t a fashion statement. But, that it’s a serious problem that results from a level of dysfunction within the home or within the individual. They should not be belittled in anyway, but they should not be coddled either. They should be properly counseled to root out the issue that has caused them to turn to sex at such a young age and become pregnant.

    A teenage family member of mine impregnated his 17 year old girlfriend and the baby shower was unbelievable. I realize the purpose of a shower is to collect gifts for the unborn child. But, this shower was very celebratory as if the couple were college sweethearts who were married and expecting their first child. The real story was that the boy was unemployed and living at home with his parents, and the girl was a high school drop-out, living at home, unemployed and uneducated…and expecting their first child. The shower sent a very dangerous message that this is perfectly ok. And less than a year later, the girlfriend was pregnant again. And I didn’t have to wonder why.

  • Buttons

    You can disregard my message as a reply, I meant to send it as a regular post.

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    She’s now 15. She was 14 and in the 8th grade when she got pregnant. *falls out*

  • binks

    Of course most people was going to find out but that’s not the point, to publicly shame her and make her feel like an outcast was low. The school stepped in and went above and beyond in this case. Especially with kicking her out, yeah let’s combat a bad message of a teenage mom with another one… the UNEDUCATED teen mom. If they wanted to send a message about teenage pregnancy there is a better way to do it and like mention why not ask her to speak on it on her own accords to deter girls her age. I agree teenage pregnancy is a BIG problem but shaming and tossing them aside is not solving the issue.

  • mamareese

    Um the blug in a few months would’ve been a dead giveaway. I can understand the school wanting to call attention to the matter but yeah this was not smart. Where is this girls parents? I think an apology is in order….tired of folks suing for pain and suffering mess….fight in a war to come back to the US and get spit on and disrepected now they should sue. She should close her legs until she’s a lot older and raise the child she has.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-C-Wood/1483120929 Jared C. Wood

    This is not a good situation for anyone, and being pregnant at 15 is not cute. BUT! Why aren’t they suspending the father or parading HIM around the assembly?! Actions like this continue to allow these young men to take no responsibility for their misdeeds, leaving women/girls to take all of the blame.

  • honeyxzillah

    That’s what I’M saying!

  • honeyxzillah

    Hmmm…good point!

  • mamareese

    This is true. Often times chicks get the immaculate conception treatment…..SHE got knocked up. SHE got a baby at 15. SHE is a single parent. Um she didn’t do it by herself. Looks like the only people that care about the babies father’s whereabouts is the government when that young lady ends up in the system. These girls also get sent to alternative schools while they are pregnant….they need to send these boys too. better yet since they pass all kinds of other silly laws pass a law that makes them enroll in some type of program to prepare for the workforce so parents are stuck raising their kids.

  • mamareese

    Oh snap just saw the mugshot……this fool really between the reports and this families loss I hope he gets life for being a power tripping rent a blob.

  • http://eclecticspectrum.wordpress.com Afia

    Yes the belly would have spoken for itself. But the school did not need to jump start the outing. Yes, some girls think pregnancy is a badge of honor. We don’t know if that’s what this young lady was doing. Nor is it our business to speculate.

    She got pregnant and was denied an education. Then she was publicly embarrassed by an educational administration. They were wrong.

    We don’t know how she got pregnant. It could have been another peer, an adult (stat rape), etc. There are all of these scenarios. Whatever the circumstances, she is dealing with more than many of us could imagine. At the end of the day, her school crossed the line. If it was you or your child, you would NOT want a school administration all up in your business.

  • Georgia

    What is she seeking from the lawsuit? An apology? She was already reinstated in school.

    They might have been wrong, but “embarrassment” isn’t a damage. And then why are she and her mom exacerbating it by going on television? Either way, it seems, the government–and thus all of us–is paying for her child.

  • binks

    Honestly I was thinking that! This issue is always one sided, IF the father of her baby was a peer in the same school where was his outing? She deserves to be shamed and is deemed a bad example but he isn’t…..

  • apple

    i dont care if she was gona show eventually, it wasn’t there places to tell everyone..
    so sick of the damn slut shaming

  • LAD86

    Why isn’t there an MTV show called “Teen Dad” or “16 and becoming a dad”?

  • Beth

    I think that’s called segregation, Libby, and it’s (thankfully) unconstitutional. Love your kids. Fathers especially, love your kids! There will be less worry over teen pregnancy when parents are comfortable with the love they have given their kids.

  • Beth

    Thank you.

  • The Taker

    That’s crazy. I don’t know her circumstances and even if I did , it is not my place or anybody’s place to judge her. Eventually, staff and students would have found out because of her growing belly. She is not some damn sideshow freak and should have not been treated like one. The school did this to humiliate her, sick. And on top of that, they wanted to deny her, her education because she is a teenage mom. As much as teenage pregnancy is looked downed upon, I honestly don’t think it could be stopped even though teenage pregnancy has drastically decreased over the years. This has been occurring since the beginning of time and still to this day, in certain cultures, in different parts of the world or even here, its considered normal and not a big deal. Not saying anybody has to agree with this, its just unfair to cast many stones.

  • Nobody

    The school had no business parading her in front of the entire student body like that. They violated her civil rights. I hope she wins. Where was the boy? Why was he not treated like that and kicked out? Is he not a bad example or was he just “being a boy” ? I don’t think she should be awarded money though. Denying these kids education just makes the situation far worse. I would think the principal should be fired as well as the staff who went along with these outdated barbaric practices.

  • Humanista

    @Buttons

    So instead of having a baby shower, they should have had a mourn fest?? Since the two teens you described were so down and out, they probably needed the help (baby gifts) more than most working, established adults who have a normal baby shower.

    I, personally, don’t see the problem w/ ANYONE having a child having a baby shower. I wasn’t there, but do you think people were actually celebrating the fact that these kids have grown up too quickly? Or were they there to celebrate that new life! THAT is the purpose of a baby shower, to welcome the new life into the world. She and the father made poor choices, but they also decided to have the baby. To say that the shower shouldn’t have been as positive as it was seems to imply that that new life deserves less of a celebration than any child born to older, more established or married parents. But, the baby didn’t choose. The parents did.

    Besides, any teenager who is encouraged to have a child by a joyous baby shower is already set up for serious issues. Teens who believe pregnancy is a badge of honor don’t feel that way because someone had a party; they feel that way because of how they have been raised and/or socialized. It seems like most teens don’t feel honored or proud when they get pregnant/get someone else pregnant. Clearly neither did this girl; she clearly wanted to keep it a secret for as long as possible.

  • ExactlyWhatIthink

    Everything is not a lawsuit

  • isolde

    @Humanista

    Yeah, but it’s not like the new baby will be scarred for life if it finds out that there was no big party to welcome it into the world, and odds are that everyone who was going to give gifts would have given gifts anyway, regardless of whether or not the mother had a shower. Tweak a few details, and Buttons could have been describing my cousin. I’ve been through this whole scenario, not once, but twice. My cousin and her children live in my house, and I firmly believe that the reason why she allowed it to happen a second time was because she had so much help and support for the first one. Needless to say, it was a new day after the second one, and there was no shower for the second baby, (not in my house anyway).
    ______________________________________________________________________
    “She and the father made poor choices, but they also decided to have the baby. To say that the shower shouldn’t have been as positive as it was seems to imply that that new life deserves less of a celebration than any child born to older, more established or married parents. But, the baby didn’t choose. The parents did.”
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Yeah, but since those parents made bad choices, the lion’s share of the fiscal responsibility will fall upon people like me, the grandparents, the state, whoever is feeding, clothing, and sheltering those teen parents, and if people like me don’t want to practice cognitive dissonance 24/7 and throw in little extras and pretend that everything’s swell, then we are well within our rights. Now, I’ve been to some awesome baby showers thrown by unwed mothers/couples, but those mothers/couples were self-sufficient, gainfully employed, adults. So, no one said boo to them about their marital status. We bought the gifts off their registries, ate good food, drank from the open bar, and had a good time.

    @Buttons

    Students typically turn 14 in the 8th grade and 15 in the 9th grade.

  • Buttons

    @ Humanista

    I think you missed the point. My comment was not directed at baby showers in general. It was specific to the situation that I mentioned and the type of baby shower that was given. Two teenagers expecting a baby and in the position they both were in should not be exuberantly celebrated and given a festive baby shower as if they achieved some great accomplishment. This sends the message that it’s ok to be young, unemployed, uneducated, and to bring a child into the world. It has nothing do with the value of the child’s life. These teens should have had a modest shower for the purpose of collecting gifts. There is nothing congratulatory about two 17 year olds bringing a child into the world that have no adequate means to support.

    As for your second point, I’m not sure if I can respond to it because it’s a little out in left field.

  • Mocha

    Exactly! You can only hide it for so long. And there is more than one lesson to be leanrned here: One for the young lady, which is..”Time to grow the up fast” because now she has to be a parent and a WOMAN to deal with all of the backlash she is going to get or has gotten. Two: for the other students, learn from her mistake. I’m a new parent at 30 and I don’t know HOW I would have done this as a teen, it’s hard enough as an adult who has her stuff together. Couldn’t imagine doing it that young and still trying to find my way.

  • Buttons

    @ isolde

    I guess things have really changed and I think it also depends on your birthday. I was 14 in the 9th and 15 in the 10th grade.

  • 2cents

    I agree w/Buttons. I have been to similar baby showers and there were younger, female family members attending. It does send the wrong message that there is such a celebration, when many high school graduation parties aren’t that elaborate.

    Not to mention the Coach diaper bags, Jordan shoes, and all of the other name brand crap that people feel the need to spend their money on. Again, for unwed, unemployed, uneducated parents–the kid is going to need more than a bunch of cute clothes to have a real chance in life.

  • isolde

    “I guess things have really changed ”

    @Buttons

    No, not really. The average age of a high school graduate is 18.

  • Buttons

    @ 2 Cents

    Do you know that is exactly what took place at this shower? The baby had a leather coat, Timberland boots, designer this, designer that…I mean you name it. It was absolutely ridiculous- and that’s not all. They had organized games and tailored to the mother and father to be and gave a way prizes. Do you hear me?? I said to myself what in the world are we doing?? Grown adults, grandmother, aunts, cousins, celebrating like they had just graduated from medical school. The elders have really dropped the ball.

  • LAD86

    If one has a birthday between January – mid June, then they would be 14 in the 8th grade, 15 in the 9th grade and graduating high school at 18.

  • chinaza

    One could equally argue that it violates the constitutional rights of non-pregnant students to have a pregnant student in the setting of a school which is not by expressed law nor intent designed for pregnant mothers.
    If she had a miscarriage in the classroom is that reasonable and appropriate for her classmates?
    Who bears liability for exposure to her body fluids in that setting?
    Can parents of non-pregnant students hold the school liable for corrupting their minor children by allowing this child in the classroom?
    We can deride these propositions but a legal basis can be found for all of them.
    So the rights of all parties must be considered.

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