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?

43 Comments

  1. 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.”

    • 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Nicole

    Well everyone was going to find out eventually!

    • 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?

    • 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.

  5. 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 ?

    • Humanista

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

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

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