#25. Work with local high schools to support pregnant and parenting students.

Title IX is a law that prevents any school which receives federal money from discriminating against students on the basis of sex, including on the basis of pregnancy or parenting status. Schools that receive federal money are required to allow pregnant students to continue participating in classes and extra curricular activities; choose whether to participate in special instructional programs; have excused absences related to pregnancy and childbirth; and access other similar protections.

Every school district is required to have at least one employee designated as its Title IX coordinator. Contact your local school district and ask to be put in touch with their coordinator. Ask what kinds of programs and policies they have in place to support pregnant or parenting teens. For example, schools may offer classes on infant care, job training, and life skills. They may have programs to allow new mothers to take classes from home, get extra tutoring, or persue independent studies. They may have policies supporting teen moms who wish to breastfeed. Some school districts even offer on-site daycare.

If your school district has programs in place, ask how you can support these efforts. If the district doesn’t have programs in place, ask who you can work with to start designing and implementing better support for their students. You can likewise reach out to local pregnancy resource centers and ask the same questions. If there are non-school resources in your area for pregnant and parenting teens, make sure your school district knows about them.

Photo credit MD Duran from Unsplash

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