It is 15 year-olds like Shantelle Hicks and her lawyers that make me consider taping my Republican membership card back together, finding a rhinestone pin with the American flag on it and heading to a rally.
After the powers that be at Hicks' school, Wingate Elementary, a K-8 boarding school in New Mexico, learned that Hicks was pregnant, they expelled her. But she was readmitted after the ACLU informed the school that they couldn't deny her an education because of that, so they readmitted her, made her stand during an assembly and announced her condition in a way that led her to believe they this wasn’t for a baby shower.
"It was so embarrassing to walk into the gymnasium and have all the kids staring at me," said Hicks. "I didn't want the whole school to know I was pregnant because it's not their business."
(Sidebar: Had the child been using her noodle, she would have realized that some would have pieced things together because pregnancies and subsequent babies are hard to hide especially after they walk, talk, cry and ask to borrow the car... though it may help explain why she is still in middle school at fifteen, which is when most kids are already in high school, but I digress. )
Hick's mother said that he public humiliation was wrong and that her daughter shouldn't have been treated differently because she's pregnant.
All I know is that she and my mother hailed from different sides of the parenting spectrum because it would have been a dark day in my young life had I ever come home and announced that I had a bun in the oven.
First, they would have opened the oven door and looked for some bread baking. That failed, they would have taken me to the doctor for drug testing or a CAT scan. After that, things would have started going south -- and fast.
That's why I never did anything like drive a car through a window, disrespect a teacher, or anything else that would have landed me some space on the village police blotter. It was that threat that kept me in line, the threat of what, I did not know, but I wasn't going to be nutty enough to find out what. And I recommend it as a sound parenting technique.
Once when I was in the throes of a short-lived modeling phase, I visited a photographer who suggested taking some compromising shots. But a picture of my father with an expression of nausea and disgust ran in front of my eyes like a film reel, and I passed on the idea. Ms. Hicks no doubt would have gone for it and her mother would have gurgled something about the body being beautiful and all those other parenting ideas that got us into this mess to begin with.
That's why the school was wrong and right. They were wrong in how they went about sending their message and right in wanting to send it because someone who is not even old enough to drive or vote or join the military is also not old enough to have a baby, not in this country, anyway.
Now that the economy is thawing and construction is on the upswing, someone ought to take a bulldozer to the ACLU's headquarters at night and give it the old heave-ho. It would be time and money well spent.