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Title IX Protections for Pregnant and Parenting Students

Does your campus provide practical access to Title IX for female students who are pregnant and parenting, or who have missed class due to miscarriage or abortion? If a female student must disclose her situation to each of her instructors, then your campus is not doing enough to protect students from discrimination on the basis of sex.


Did you know Title IX protects students who are pregnant, parenting, or have terminated a pregnancy? Title IX guarantees excused absences and the opportunity to make up all missed work!

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex—including pregnancy and parental status—in educational programs and activities. All public and private schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving any Federal funds (“schools”) must comply with Title IX.

Community college leaders have the power to increase graduation and transfer rates for our parenting students, our female students, and our students who are single moms. The policies we enact can lessen wage gaps for women in California and strengthen support for low-income California families. 

Is your college in compliance with these Title IX protections?  (Probably not!) Click the links below to learn more about Title IX protections for pregnant and parenting students!


From the Pregnant & Parenting Students’ Rights Toolkit

“Your college must excuse your absences due to pregnancy or childbirth for as long as your doctor says is necessary. Schools must reschedule exams missed due to pregnancy or childbirth. When you return, your college must allow you to return to the same academic and extracurricular status you had before you left. The college must also give you a chance to make up missed work.”

“I have to miss class to give birth / have an abortion / go to a prenatal visit / be on bed rest. Does my university have to excuse my absence?”
Yes. Your school must excuse your absences due to pregnancy and related conditions. This includes absences for labor, delivery, and recovery, as well as prenatal appointments. Absences must be excused for pregnancy-related reasons even if your school does not excuse absences for students with other medical conditions. Your school must excuse your pregnancy-related absence for as long as your doctor says is necessary. When you return to school, your school must reinstate you to the status you held before your absence. Your school can require a doctor’s note, but only if it requires the same for students with other medical conditions.


From the US Department of Education’s “Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students

“A school must excuse a student’s absences because of pregnancy or childbirth for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences medically necessary.”

“When the student returns to school, she must be reinstated to the status she held when the leave began, which should include giving her the opportunity to make up any work missed.”

“Consider allowing excused absences for parenting students (both male and female) who need to take their children to doctors’ appointments or to take care of their sick children. By treating the absences as excused, you give these students the opportunity to make up the work they missed without being penalized, and you prevent them from falling behind.”


From the US Department of Education’s “Know Your Rights: Pregnant or Parenting? Title IX Protects You From Discrimination at School

“Your teacher may not refuse to allow you to submit work after a deadline you missed because of pregnancy or childbirth… If your teacher’s grading is based in part on class participation or attendance and you missed class because of pregnancy or childbirth, you should be allowed to make up the participation or attendance credits you didn’t have the chance to earn.”

“Keep notes about your pregnancy-related absences, any instances of harassment and your interactions with school officials about your pregnancy, and immediately report problems to your school’s Title IX Coordinator, counselor, or other staff.”

Your college must excuse absences due to pregnancy or childbirth for as long as your doctor says it is necessary. Your college also must allow you to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before your medical leave began, which should include giving you the opportunity to make up any work missed while you were out.

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