Pregnant and Parenting Students
An uncomplicated pregnancy, by itself, is NOT considered a disability. However, if a student has a complication (assessed by the doctor) that substantially limits her major life activity, then her case will be verified by the disability services coordinator through the same process as any student requesting accommodations to determine if she may be temporarily disabled.
To ensure a pregnant student has the same rights to its educational program, professors must not discriminate against students due to their pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or recovery, including their rights concerning parental, family, or marital status.
- Do not penalize a student for absences for as long as the doctor says absences are necessary (verified by Disability Coordinator). DO NOT ask for the doctor's note.
- If the student is struggling, discuss her academic needs, but NOT her medical status.
- Provide opportunities for student to make up participation/attendance points, assignments, test/exams, including late submissions without penalties.
- Do not assume that a student on leave will be able to complete any assignments. LEAVE = NOT DOING schoolwork.
- Consider alternate approaches for student to access class learning by recording the lecture or through Facetime.
- Allow reasonable adjustments—larger desk, chair without arm desk, frequent breaks, leave class to express breast milk or feed the infant in privacy without hardship or harassment.
- Do not discriminate against a student from returning to the same academic status as before pregnancy by changing the course expectations.
- Consider an Incomplete grade and a reasonable amount of time to make up missed work without pressure.
- AVOID saying: "You have to be back in class in XX weeks (or you'll fail);" "If you can't come to class, you should withdraw;" "You should not have gotten pregnant since you need this course/internship;" "Wouldn't it be better if you stayed home with your baby?" "I cannot guarantee you'll pass if you miss class again."
- May SAY: "Congratulations!" "How's your baby doing?" "What can I do to help you feel comfortable in class?" "Sorry about what you're going through." "Let me know whenever you're ready to submit your work; you will not be penalized." "Tell me how best I can get the course information to you while you're recovering." "How can I assist you in completing this course when you get back?"