Ways to support pregnant and parenting students including absences, rights, and accommodations.
Schools must excuse a student’s absences because of pregnancy or childbirth for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences medically necessary.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex—including pregnancy and parental status—in educational programs and activities.
Absence policies in classes must accommodate pregnancy or childbirth related absences and allow for make-up work. “A teacher may not refuse to allow a student to submit work after a deadline that they missed because of absences due to pregnancy or childbirth. Additionally, if a teacher’s grading is based in part on class attendance or participation, the student should be allowed to earn the credits they missed, so that they can be reinstated to the status they had before the leave.”
“A school may offer the student alternatives to making up missed work, such as retaking a semester, taking part in an online course credit recovery program, or allow the student additional time in a program to continue at the same pace and finish at a later date, especially after longer periods of leave. The student should be allowed to choose how to make up the work.”
Rights and Accommodations
- The right to equal access to schools and activities.
- The right to choose to participate in separate programs for pregnant or parenting students, not be required by the University.
- The right to be excused for absences due to pregnancy or childbirth for as long as is deemed medically necessary by the student’s physician.
- The right to attend class and school activities without submitting a doctor’s note.
These may include, but are not limited to those listed:
- Excused or extended absences related to medical appointments and/or illness related to pregnancy
- Extended coursework deadlines
- Back-dated withdrawals
- Elevator keys
- Parking permits
Additional Resources and Title IX Reporting
Pregnancy related impairments
Although pregnancy itself is not a disability, pregnancy-related impairments may qualify as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Examples include pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related sciatica, and preeclampsia.
Students experiencing such impairments may contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center.
McBurney Disability Resource Center
Filing an Office of Civil Rights Complaint
If there has been an act of discrimination on the basis of sex against any person or group in a program or activity that receives Department of Education financial assistance, that person or group may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights under Title IX.
The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination but may be affected by a general “hostile sexual environment” or complain on behalf of another person or group. A complaint should be sent to the Office of Civil Rights enforcement office that serves the state in which the alleged discrimination occurred.
Office of Compliance Title IX Informattion