The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is responsible for enforcing laws prohibiting discrimination in federally assisted educational programs and activities. These laws include Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities. All public and private educational institutions that receive any 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 of schools. This includes prohibiting discrimination against pregnant and parenting students.
- Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against a student based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions.
- Under Title IX, it is illegal for schools to exclude a pregnant student from participating in any of an educational program. Schools may implement special instructional programs or classes for a pregnant student, but participation must be completely voluntary on the part of the student, and the programs and classes must be comparable to those offered to other students.
- Schools 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 a student returns to school, they must be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before their medical leave began.
- Any special services provided to students who have temporary medical conditions must also be provided to a pregnant student.