Title IX & Pregnant and Parenting Students

There has been a lot of buzz about Title IX in the news lately, but did you know that Title IX includes certain protections for pregnant and parenting students?

 

As a pregnant student you have special rights under the protections of Title IX:

  • You must be provided with an adequate size desk or chair in which you fit comfortably for all of your classes.
  • You must be provided with comparable services to other students with temporary disabilities (e.g. if the school provides special assistance to a student on crutches, they must also provide that  assistance to a student who is pregnant).
  • You must be allowed to make up without penalty any missing assignments or absences from class resulting from any medical condition related to your pregnancy—including labor, delivery, and postpartum respite. You must request a physician’s note from your doctor stating your dates of absence due to pregnancy related conditions and when you can return to school (if known). Your physician can also update or change your return date at a later time. You cannot be required to return to class until your physician has released you to do so. You must be allowed to make up any missed work and/or class attendance and to continue your academic program without receiving a grading reduction or delay in academic progress.
  • Note: This applies REGARDLESS, of the individual policies of a specific professor. Even if the professor has an absolute zero tolerance policy for absences or late assignments for any reason including illness or injury, they cannot implement this policy in a case where the absence or late assignment is related to a medically documented pregnancy, delivery or postpartum period. Professors may not implement personalized classroom policies in violation of federal law. Doing so could risk an institutional lawsuit. There are multiple examples of institutions who have been sued for violations of Title IX related to pregnant and parenting students.

Additionally, as a parenting student:

  • You are entitled to access to a lactation room that is private, clean, and not a bathroom, and to take breaks to nurse or pump.
  • You cannot be required to participate in a program for pregnant/parenting students (although such programs can be offered, they must always be optional).
  • You cannot be harassed, bullied or mistreated by students, faculty, staff, or other members of the college community because of your pregnancy or parenting status.
  • You may not be excluded from any educational program, service, or activity, including extracurricular activities and programs, due to your parenting status.

If you believe that your rights under Title IX have been violated, you may file a complaint with your college or university’s Title IX Officer. If you do not know who the Title IX Officer is, you can ask by contacting your Dean or Department Chair.

If you are unsatisfied with your college or university’s response to your complaint, you may file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department Education through their website here.

For more information about Title IX Protections for Pregnant and Parenting Students visit: