FAQ: Working with Pregnant and Parenting Students

For Students

Pregnant and parenting students should expect to obtain reasonable adjustments based on their pregnant and parenting status in order to maintain access to the educational environment. These students are expected to be proactive in requesting these adjustments and willing to work with Title IX Coordinators for appropriate adjustments. MCCCD is unable to grant retroactive adjustments, so it is important to reach out early with requests.

Adjustment requests should be directed to the college Title IX Coordinator by accessing the Pregnancy Adjustment Form. The Coordinator will review the request, possibly meeting with the student to discuss the pregnant or parenting individual’s needs, and in some cases may ask for documentation that supports the requested adjustments.

Pregnancy Adjustment Form

For Employees

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX") is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits, in educational programs and activities, discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes pregnant and parental status. All public and private institutions of higher education that receive federal financial assistance must comply with this law. Title IX protects students in all of the academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs or activities offered by the college.

It is the goal of the Maricopa Community College District to ensure that all students are adequately supported so that they can succeed in and complete their programs of study.

QUESTIONS ANSWER

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS UNDER TITLE IX RELATED TO PREGNANT AND PARENTING STUDENTS?

Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against a student based on pregnancy, child-birth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions. Under Title IX, it is illegal for a college to exclude a pregnant student from participating in any part of an educational program, including a student athlete's participation in inter-collegiate sports. Simply put, this means that the college must give all students who might be, are, or have been pregnant the same access to school programs and educational opportunities that other students have; and a student may not be advised or forced to drop a class or program or change their educational plans due to a pregnancy.
WHAT ABOUT PARTICIPATION IN INTERNSHIPS, CAREER ROTATIONS, AND OTHER OFF-CAMPUS ELEMENTS OF A PROGRAM OF STUDY--CAN A PREGNANT STUDENT BE EXCLUDED? Title IX provides that the college must allow pregnant students to continue participating in off campus elements to their program of study. The college may not require students to disclose pregnancy status, and the college cannot require a doctor's note for continued participation, unless the college requires a doctor's note for all students with a medical condition requiring treatment from a physician. If a note is required, the college cannot second-guess the doctor's decision. Questions or concerns regarding off-campus elements to a program of study should be directed to the college's Title IX Coordinator.

WHAT ABOUT PREGNANCY RELATED ATTENDANCE ISSUES--DOES THE COLLEGE HAVE TO EXCUSE ABSENCES DUE TO PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH, OR ABORTION?

A student cannot be penalized for pregnancy or related conditions, even if a professor has a specific attendance requirement. A professor must excuse absences due to pregnancy or any related condition, for as long as your doctor says it is necessary to be absent, even if there is no leave policy for students with other conditions. When a pregnant (or parenting) student returns to school, the student must be reinstated to the status held before the leave, which means if there are academic advantages given to students based on class attendance, a returning student must be given the opportunity to make up the credit and work missed during the pregnancy-related absence (or related condition). Title IX requires that colleges ensure that faculty and staff comply with the law and not discriminate against pregnant and parenting students. A professor's attendance policy must still comply with the law.

WHAT DO I DO WHEN A STUDENT INFORMS ME THAT THEY ARE PREGNANT, UNDERGOING FERTILTY

Once a student self-identifies, she should have the option of meeting with the college's Title IX Coordinator to obtain information about how the school supports pregnant students in the academic setting. The college offers an accommodation-like process that addresses each qualifying student individually. Adjustments provided to a student should be comparable to those offered to students with disabilities in similar circumstances. Adjustment requests should be directed to the college Title IX Coordinator by accessing the Pregnancy Adjustment Form.

WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS SURROUNDING ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE PREGNANT, UNDERGOING FERTILITY TREATMENT, OR ARE ABOUT TO BE/ARE A PARENT?

Students who are pregnant or have related conditions or circumstances cannot be excluded from any education program or activity. However, if a student is unable to complete a course due to pregnancy or related conditions and must take a leave of absence, the student is entitled to pick up the class and continue from the point at which they previously stopped. The college may offer the student the option of retaking the semester or taking part of the course online; however, the student should be allowed to choose which option is best for them to make up the work.

Colleges should be mindful of male students who are parenting and consider allowing excused absences to take their children to doctors’ appointments or to take care of their sick children.

WHAT ABOUT CLASSES OR LABS THAT MAY POSE A HAZARD TO A DEVELOPING FETUS? WHAT ABOUT CLINICAL PLACEMENTS?

A college may issue general warnings concerning the health risk a student may encounter as a result of participation in course work, labs, clinical assignments, or other components of an educational program (e.g. bacterial disease, viral disease, radioactivity, etc.). The college may also notify all students of possible precautionary measures they may wish to take prior to engaging in such activities or actions. Pregnant students may choose to participate in the activities or actions or may request comparable alternatives. Title IX regulations do permit colleges and universities to require students who are pregnant, or have a related condition, to obtain certification from a physician to confirm that the student is physically and emotionally able to continue participation in a recipient’s program if such certification is required of all students for other physical or emotional conditions that require a physician’s attention.

WHAT ABOUT LACTATION

SPACES?
The Department of Education suggests that institutions designate a private room for young mothers to breastfeed, pump milk, or address other needs related to breastfeeding. These lactation spaces should be located in a designated area where students are shielded from view and free from intrusion.
RESOURCES

MCCCD: Working with Pregnant and Parenting Students

“The Maricopa County Community College District is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.”