U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that the Department of Education has issued a Dear Colleague letter and accompanying pamphlet on supporting the academic success of pregnant and parenting students under Title IX. This pamphlet updates and expands upon the pamphlet on this topic issued in 1991.
The pamphlet, which was sent to school districts as well as colleges and universities across the country, provides information on school retention problems associated with young mothers and fathers and the requirements related to these issues contained in the Department's regulation implementing Title IX.
"We need to do more to help the hundreds of thousands of students who become mothers and fathers each year graduate from high school ready for college and successful careers," said Secretary Duncan. "We must support pregnant and parenting students so that they can build better lives for themselves and their children."
The pamphlet is aimed at secondary school administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and students. Although the pamphlet focuses on secondary schools, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and parental status at all education levels, including at postsecondary institutions. The guidance clarifies the specific requirements of Title IX applicable to pregnant and parenting students, noting, among other things, that it is illegal under Title IX for schools to exclude pregnant students from participating in any part of an educational program, including extracurricular activities.
The pamphlet contains information on strategies educators may use and programs schools can develop to address the educational needs of students who become pregnant or have children. It also provides examples of promising practices designed to support pregnant and parenting students that schools may choose to adopt.
"The Office for Civil Rights is committed to working with schools to help them support pregnant and parenting students and ensure that these students are not discriminated against as they strive to stay in school," said Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter. "By making sure that young parents can fully participate in school, we can encourage them to work toward graduation instead of dropping out of school."
For more information about OCR and the anti-discrimination statutes that it enforces, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/aboutocr.html. To review the Dear Colleague letter and accompanying pamphlet, please visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201306-title-ix.pdf and http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/pregnancy.pdf.