Maddi’s dad, Scott, took to his daughter’s Facebook page on Sunday night after the New York Times story broke about Maddi’s pregnancy and how her Christian school was banning her from walking at graduation because of it.
There have been many misconceptions, factual errors, and just wrong information out there about the story. Maddi’s father eloquently explains the family’s position and why they decided they needed to go public with the story:
This is Maddi’s father and I’d like to share a few thoughts. I’m not a social media user but I understand that Maddi’s story is creating a lot of buzz (both for and against Maddi) among folks that do use it.
The first thing I want everyone to understand is that we are not out to make Heritage or it’s leadership look bad. I have dedicated more hours to Heritage over the last eight years than many of you could imagine. Heritage is a special place for me and my family despite what Maddi is experiencing.
Heritage is a good school that promotes a lot of the ideals that are important to me as a Christian and that is the reason we entrusted them with the education of our children through their most formidable years.
Second, despite what some may think, Maddi nor her mother and I have ever advocated that she not be disciplined for her actions. My daughter should be held accountable for what she did. Discipline is a necessary piece of the picture but grace and love should be more prominent…that is how restoration takes place.
Maddi’s discipline should have occurred shortly after her confession so we could all focus on the restoration and enjoying her senior year.
Putting her discipline at the end of the year has only resulted in bitterness and hard feelings.
To the detractors, ask yourself how restoration can take place when you put a students punishment at the very end of their high school career. When do you plan to show Maddi the love and grace that is supposed to take place after discipline? Your window of opportunity has unfortunately closed.
There are some who have been very supportive of her during this time and they are the ones that will be endeared to her for a lifetime. Those that have not loved her through this will likely be forgotten soon or at the very least you will be the source of bad memories. There are some who have made it clear that Maddi is not welcome there. Maybe it’s because she is a pregnant girl at a Christian school or maybe it’s because they want to send the message that this behavior isn’t tolerated, but either way these folks have failed to represent Christ effectively in this situation.
I have been on the board at Heritage for five years and have been involved in plenty of discipline issues. Unfortunately, this is the first time that I’m aware of that we have not allowed a senior to walk in their graduation because they broke a rule. I have always fought for a balance of discipline, grace and restoration but I don’t see that in Maddi’s case. Heritage has done a good job in the past about not punishing a student in a way that it detracts from their hard work academically but for whatever reason that seems to be absent here.
The last point I want to make is that this issue isn’t just about Heritage. This issue is much bigger than just this small school in Western Maryland. A number of national media outlets want to talk with us but they would not be interested if this issue were just localized to Heritage. This is a national issue and the decision that Heritage made is emblematic of other Christian schools across the country.
All too often it is easy just to focus on the discipline aspect of girls like Maddi who made the mistake of having premarital sex. Unfortunately, this sort of approach inadvertently contributes to abortion and even worse, suicide.
Maddi briefly considered abortion because of the attitudes from others that she correctly predicted but thankfully she made the right choice in the face of those dire prospects. We are doing all that we can to take Maddi’s story to a national level so that Christian schools are more thoughtful in how Christ would want us to handle these situations…especially with girls like Maddi who have so clearly demonstrated a repentant attitude.
A few last thoughts and I’ll leave you alone.
1) Dave Hobbs and the board at Heritage are good people. I know there are some who want to put all of this on their shoulders but that would not be the Christian way to handle this situation.
In the face of my family begging for grace and love for Maddi I will not be hypocritical in calling for anyone to blame all of this on them. I know that deep down they care for Maddi and our family.
2) Lets not forget about the prospective fathers in these cases. In our situation, the father of the baby is very much involved and I’m proud of him for stepping up to this challenge. My advocacy for grace and love extends to these young men too.
3) I hope that this issue causes all of us to think twice about the roles that discipline, grace and restoration play in our lives. All of them are necessary components and they can be extremely effective when used correctly, but as we can see they are very divisive when not used correctly.
4) Most importantly, please pray for Maddi, our family and the rest of those impacted by all of this that we grow from it and above all, we give God the glory for the blessings that we hope this will yield.