Pregnancy and Parenting
Title IX provides that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
The U.S. Department of Education’s regulation implementing Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against a student based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions. The Title IX regulation also prohibits a school from applying any rule related to a student’s parental, family, or marital status that treats students differently based on their sex.
Under Title IX, Oakton does not exclude a pregnant student from participating in any part of an educational program. This prohibition applies to all sanctioned school activities, including:
- specific classes such as advanced placement or honors classes,
- extracurricular programs,
- interscholastic sports,
- honor societies, and/or
- opportunities for student leadership
Divisions and departments 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.
In addition, Oakton offers reasonable accommodations which include excusing 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 Oakton, she will be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular programs as before her medical leave began.
Any special services provided to students who have temporary medical conditions will also be provided to a pregnant student. Oakton may require a pregnant student or student who has given birth to submit medical certification for school participation as this documentation is also required from all students with physical or emotional conditions requiring the attention of a physician, or those requesting accommodations.
Being a parent can be stressful when balancing student and work obligations. The Office of Access, Equity, and Diversity wants pregnant and parenting students to know their rights under Title IX regarding education and status as a pregnant/parenting student.
The National Women’s Law Center has several resources that can assist students in understanding these rights. For more information visit https://nwlc.org/issue/pregnancy-parenting/.
Taking time off when you have a new child (through birth, adoption, etc.) is important for physical recovery as well as adjustment to parenthood. Although Oakton Community College faculty and staff have official parental/family leave policies/benefits, Oakton students usually do not qualify for these same policies/benefits.
What is available?
If you are pregnant or become pregnant during the semester, you have the option to meet with your faculty member to discuss accommodations that may be necessary. It may not be possible to grant accommodations after the fact, so it is better to prepare in advance for any possible scenarios.
If the baby is due during the academic term
Will you be able to return to class after the baby is delivered?
In the event the pregnancy progresses normally and the labor and delivery is normal (without complications), most students are able to return to class in a timely manner. If you are unable to return to class, please provide your instructor with a note from your doctor stating that you are unable to return to class at this time.
If the baby is due shortly after the semester/term
You may seek reasonable accommodations from your instructor if your baby is due near the end of the semester or if the baby arrives early, or if there are complications.
If you are enrolled in courses in health and sciences careers (i.e., anatomy and physiology, nursing, chemistry, etc.)
Your instructor will provide a form for your doctor’s signature to get clearance to work with cadavers (or other potentially hazardous materials), and do clinical rotations. If you are not allowed to work with cadavers (or other potentially hazardous materials) or do clinical rotations due to your pregnancy, please inform your instructor. You and the instructor will work with the Office of Student Affairs to explore options, up to and including possible withdrawal and retaking of the course.
For information on how to access reasonable accommodations for pregnant and parenting students, contact the Office of Access, Equity, and Diversity at 847.635.1751.