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Pregnant or Parenting Students
Discrimination Based on Pregnancy and Related Conditions
Since 1975, Title IX Regulations have protected students and employees from discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions. Title IX also prohibits schools from applying any rule related to a student’s parental, family, or marital status that treats students differently based on their sex.
The Title IX regulations state that recipients of federal funds "shall not apply any rule concerning a student's actual or potential parental, family or marital status which treats students differently on the basis of sex... [and] shall not discriminate against any student, or exclude any student from its education programs or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student's pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom, unless the student requests voluntarily to participate in a separate portion of the program or activity of the recipient."
Medical and Other Benefits and Services
Schools and districts must treat pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, and recovery therefrom the same as any other temporary disability with respect to any hospital or medical benefit, service, plan, or policy for students.
If a school/district does not have a leave policy for its students, or if a student does not qualify for leave under the current policy, the school/district shall treat pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and recovery therefrom as a justification for a leave of absence for as long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by the student's physician. After the student returns, the student shall be reinstated to the status which she held when the leave began.
For more information, see:
- The 2020 Title IX Regulations
- October 2022 Discrimination Based on Pregnancy and Related Conditions, A Resource for Students and Schools
To ensure a pregnant student’s access to its educational program, when necessary, a school must make adjustments to the regular program that are reasonable and responsive to the student’s temporary pregnancy status. Schools/districts are required to provide the same special services to pregnant students provided to students with temporary medical conditions. For example, a school might be required to provide a larger desk, allow frequent trips to the bathroom, or permit temporary access to elevators.
For more information, see:
On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released proposed amendments to the Department’s Title IX regulations. The proposed regulations aim to ensure full protection under Title IX for students, employees, and others and end all forms of sex discrimination in federally funded elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions. The agency’s goal is to ensure that no person experiences sex discrimination in education, that all students receive appropriate support as needed to access educational opportunities, and that school procedures for investigating and resolving complaints of sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment and sexual violence, are fair to all involved. The proposed regulations would also clarify Title IX’s coverage of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, and pregnancy or related conditions.
The Department’s Proposed Title IX Rule was published in the Federal Register on July 11, 2022, thus beginning the 61 day public comment period. The public comment period closed on Sept 12, 2022.
Additional information on the proposed rule, includes a summary with background information and a fact sheet.
Until any new regulations go into effect, the 2020 Title IX regulations remain in effect.
For more information on how to support pregnant or parenting students, also see:
US Department of Health & Human Services, Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Teens
How to File a Complaint
Title IX complaints should be filed with the individual school or district. However, a complaint may also be filed with the Office for Civil Rights: How to File a Discrimination Complaint.
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