Brooke Richardson

Brooke Skylar Richardson makes her first court appearance in Franklin Municipal Court in Franklin, Ohio in July 2017. (Photo: Michael Buckingham, AP)

Brooke Richardson was seen at a party after avoiding deserved jail time.

Richardson was with her friends laughing and having fun like she had forgotten what she had done to her newborn child.

Richardson was accused of killing her newborn just two days after her senior prom. She justified burying the newborn in the backyard of her family home in Ohio by saying she was still-born.

She was thinking of herself and her own future as she dug the hole where she would place her newborn. She didn’t think it was possible to maintain her image and have a child. The former cheerleader kept the news of her pregnancy quiet as she continued to attend school, go to parties and plan for her future. Richardson’s family said her weight gain went unnoticed because it usually fluctuated due to her eating disorders.

Two months after she buried the newborn, Richardson’s gynecologist reported it to the police. The coroner was unable to determine the cause of death of the newborn, but prosecutors insisted it was a homicide.

Prosecutors presented the jury with the idea that Richardson wanted the perfect life. The pregnancy would have ruined the “good girl” persona she was trying to achieve, which is why she took action.

The action that Richardson took to ensure her future goes beyond a side effect of fear. What Richardson did was a selfish action that she blamed on ignorance. After the defense claimed the prosecutors “overcharged” Richardson, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said they owed it to the little girl to take it to trial.

The jury found Richardson not guilty of all serious charges. She was sentenced to three years of basic supervision, which isn’t a harsh enough punishment for her actions.

Although Richardson has already received backlash from the media, eventually most will forget and move on. I’ve noticed people have even labeled her the “baby killer.” No matter how horrible the nickname, it will not make up for what she has done.

By not giving Richardson a harsher punishment, it leads women to believe they could take the same action and receive the same treatment. Richardson wanted to live a normal life by going to college and planning for a future that did not consist of having a child so early on.

Richardson took an outrageous and unlawful action in order to keep her image. By allowing her to walk free, she can do exactly what she planned to do without being punished. There is no justice for her baby.

Tracy Johnson, the child’s paternal grandmother, expressed her grief over the loss of her first grandchild. Johnson said she would have taken care of the baby if she knew Richardson was pregnant.

“As we live with our grief and loss, she can now live knowing that her selfish decision was not her only choice,” Johnson said.

This issue stems from the underlying problem of how women are treated if they get pregnant at a young age. With constant backlash and judgment, it causes young, pregnant women to act out of fear.

In many societies and cultures pregnancy before marriage is still seen as unacceptable. Single pregnant women are often the center of gossip and retaliation. Women go to different measures to avoid the punishment they might receive from others. Women should never feel this way or go to such extremes as Richardson did. Richardson deserved a harsher punishment to show others that what she did was not okay. If she had received a more serious sentence she would have gotten a better chance to reflect on her actions and truly regret them.

Shelby Bordes is a 20-year old mass communication junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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