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Ordway v. Hargraves

323 F. Supp. 1155 (1971)

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Ordway v. Hargraves

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

323 F. Supp. 1155 (1971)

Facts

High school senior Fay Ordway (plaintiff) informed the Principal of North Middlesex Regional High School, Robert Hargraves (defendant) that she was pregnant. Hargraves told Ordway that school rule 821 required the school to terminate an unmarried, pregnant student’s school membership. Hargraves sent a letter to Ordway’s mother informing her of the rule. The letter stated that Ordway would no longer be permitted to attend regular classes, but that she could access the school’s facilities after school, participate in school functions, and seek academic help from teachers and school-approved tutors. Ordway filed suit against Hargraves, seeking a preliminary injunction to require Hargraves to readmit Ordway as a regular student. The court held a preliminary-injunction hearing. At the hearing, multiple doctors testified that Ordway was in good health and could attend regular classes without experiencing any ill health effects. Dr. Dorothy Jane Worth testified that excluding Ordway from school would likely result in mental anguish, which could affect her pregnancy. Dr. Mary Jane England testified that excluding pregnant students from school may result in depression, which could affect the child’s well-being. Dr. Norman A. Sprinthall testified that after-hours instruction was not academically equal to regular class instruction. Ordway testified that she desired to attend school, her grades had not suffered, her relationships with classmates had not been impacted by the pregnancy, and that her pregnancy did not cause a substantial disruption of or interfere with school activities. Hargraves testified that the rule’s purpose was to make clear that school officials do not condone unmarried student pregnancies. Hargraves was unable to provide an educational justification for excluding Ordway from regular classes.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Caffrey, J.)

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