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Teenwise Minnesota Workshop Summaries

Access to Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students: Title IX and Beyond

Pregnancy and parenthood are enormous life events, even for adults. With teens, the stakes are even higher. So high, in fact, that Title IX federal legislation was created to ensure that schools do all they can to help teens continue their education.

A Teenwise Minnesota forum at the Minnesota Department of Education on Sept. 30 – Access to Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students: Title IX and Beyond – highlighted the little known requirements of Title IX related to teen pregnancy. After opening remarks by Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren and videoed remarks by Senator Amy Klobuchar, a National Women’s Law Center expert discussed the necessity for schools to not only prevent discrimination of pregnant and parenting students, but to also provide the support they and their children need to thrive: don’t isolate pregnant teens from classmates by offering home-schooling or alternative school; allow reasonable use of the bathroom when needed; allow enough time for recovery after birth before requiring school attendance, to name a few examples.

Workshop participants also developed and distributed a tool (PDF) to help schools self-assess their current ability to provide what pregnant and parenting students need to succeed. Assess your own school.

Title IX protects access to education by requiring that:

  • All students have equal access to school and extracurricular activities.
  • Special programs or schools for pregnant and parenting students must be voluntary.
  • Any program offered separately for pregnant and parenting students must be comparable to programs offered to non-pregnant and parenting students.
  • A doctor’s note can be required for school only if the school requires a doctor’s note from all students with conditions requiring medical care.
  • Absences due to pregnancy or childbirth must be excused for as long as is deemed medically necessary by the student’s doctor.
  • Special services for temporarily disabled must be provided for pregnant students.
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, termination of pregnancy and recovery from the aforementioned must be treated in the same manner and with the same policies as any other temporary disability.

For a one page overview on the rights of pregnant and parenting students guaranteed under Title IX, please click here. For more information, visit the Department of Justice or visit the National Women's Law Center.

To view presentations and resource materials from previous workshops, please follow the links below.