FT. WINGATE, N.M. (KRQE) - A 15-year-old girl claims she was humiliated in front of her whole school when staff told everyone she was pregnant during an assembly. The young teen mom, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, is now suing, citing a violation of civil rights.
Vicky Hicks said she noticed her daughter Shantelle's belly growing in October. The family immediately told school administrators at Wingate Elementary School near Gallup that Shantelle was pregnant. Vicky said the school's reaction was shocking.
"We can't have her back on school campus. We won't allow it," the school said, according to Vicky. "They didn't want her there due to the fact that she was pregnant, and she was going to be setting a bad example to other female students."
Vicky said she hired an attorney, who helped get Shantelle back into school. But Vicky said administrators decided to make an example of her daughter by announcing her pregnancy at a school assembly.
"This was like in front of hundreds of students and faculty," said Vicky. "Are they crazy? They had no right telling everyone (she's) pregnant."
Now the family and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Indian Education boarding school, stating Wingate Elementary and its administrators violated Shantelle's civil rights.
"There are obligations under federal law that require people to not discriminate against students based on gender or pregnancy or being parents," said ACLU attorney Alexandra Smith.
Wingate School administrators had no comment when News 13 visited the school. Both the attorney and the teen's mom said one of the supervisors who outted Shantelle has been demoted, but the school would not confirm that.
Vicky said her daughter has been home-schooled for the last two months but will return to Wingate in a few weeks to finish up the 8th grade.
"I'm upset," said Vicky. "It takes a lot to stand by your kids. If you love them, you'll do everything you can for them."
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