Pregnant & Parenting for Students
Complete the Pregnant & Parenting Student Self-Identification Form.
Under Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including pregnancy and parental status, and requires that all educational institutions provide a range of reasonable adjustments to students who need them due to pregnancy and childbirth. These should be assessed on a case-by-case basis with interactive dialogue between the faculty/staff member and the student. However, the University does not need to provide an adjustment that would fundamentally alter the academic objectives of a course of program or that would cause an undue hardship on the University.
Title IX requires that the University provide reasonable adjustments to students who need them due to pregnancy for as long as is medically required. This may include adjusting a students’ schedule or allowing frequent trips to the restroom when necessary. Other examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
Classes and School Activities
- The University must allow the student to continue participating in classes and extracurricular activities, including honors classes, clubs, sports, leadership opportunities, and other activities.
- The University must provide the student reasonable adjustments, like a larger desk, elevator access, or allowing frequent restroom trips.
Excused Absences and Medical Leave
- The University must excuse absences due to pregnancy or childbirth for as long as a doctor deems it medically necessary.
- The University must allow the student to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before the student’s medical leave began and to make up any missed work due to doctor’s appointments, medical conditions, and childbirth. If a student’s grade is based in part on class participation or attendance, the student should be allowed to make up the participation or attendance credits.
- The University must provide the student with the same special services it provides to students with temporary medical conditions, including online instruction, tutoring, and/or independent study.
Excused absences for pregnancy and childbirth is a student’s legally protected right; it cannot be made contingent on a student’s grades, prior performance in class, or any other factor such as meeting the criteria of another University Policy.
Accessibility & Disability Services (ADS)
Pregnancy itself is not considered a disability, and not all pregnancies result in a disability. However, medical conditions that result from pregnancy may meet the definition of a medical disability (e.g. gestational diabetes and preeclampsia) and may result in a short-term disability. If the student develops a medical condition, the student should be directed to register with ADS. Additional information about the medical disability requirement process can be found on the ADS website – www.counseling.umd.edu/ads/.
Having this self-identification process completed ahead of time encourages the students to have communication with OCRSM so that the students can best position themselves for adjustments and potential correspondence with their professors prior to needing pregnancy-related adjustments. For example, in the event a student is unable to attend class, having this process in place expedites communication between the student, OCRSM, and instructors.
The University is obligated to protect students from harassment due to pregnancy and related conditions. Comments and behaviors could constitute prohibited harassment if they are sufficiently serious so that they interfere with a student’s ability to benefit from or participate in an academic program or extracurricular activity. All members of the University community are strongly encouraged to report incidents of pregnancy-based harassment to OCRSM – www.ocrsm.umd.edu/.
Pregnant or Parenting Students’ Rights
- The Pregnant Scholar – Title IX Basics
- National Women's Law Center - Pregnant and Parenting Students' Rights
- U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (June 2013) - Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students
All questions and concerns regarding pregnant or parenting students and/or reasonable adjustments should be directed to Jamie Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-405-114