Education Department Promotes Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Students
If you work with pregnant and parenting teens, you know the struggles they face to stay in school -- and the vital importance of furthering their educations for their futures and that of their families. Federal law protects young people's right to an education. As part of an ongoing effort to help more young people finish high school, the U.S. Department of Education has re-issued a pamphlet explaining the rights of pregnant and parenting students.
“Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students” (PDF, 269KB), explains requirements tied to Title IX of the Education Amendments, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities. The law applies to all secondary and postsecondary schools that receive federal financial assistance, although exceptions are made for schools operated by a religious organization.
The pamphlet lists actions schools and others who work with young people can take to meet the needs--and rights--of pregnant and parenting students. Here are four points to share with youth:
- It's illegal for schools to stop a pregnant student from taking part in classes, extracurricular activities or sports teams.
- Schools can create programs and classes designed for pregnant students, but they must be voluntary and comparable to those offered to other students.
- If a youth misses school because of her pregnancy or because she has given birth, schools are required to excuse any absences deemed by a doctor as “medically necessary.” If special services like tutoring are offered to other students with temporary medical conditions, those services must also be made available to pregnant students.
- Schools must address any harassment or hostility aimed at pregnant or parenting young people.
Read “Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students” (PDF, 269KB).