5 Things Every Student Should Know About Their Title IX Rights at School While Pregnant or Parenting

Starting in August, pregnant and parenting students' rights under Title IX are even stronger and clearer. Here's what you should know about exercising your rights at school!

Beginning August 1, 2024, pregnant and parenting students have clearer, more robust protections under Title IX, a federal law protecting students from sex-based discrimination, including discrimination because of your pregnancy or related conditions.

The Department of Education recently released its new rule on the law, clarifying and strengthening students’ rights under the law to things like a clean, private lactation space and breaks during class to pump milk at school, access to online education, extensions on coursework, and the rescheduling of exams—and much more!

Read on for the top five things you need to know about the new rule:

  1. Your school must tell you about your Title IX rights. By law, every school or school district must have a Title IX Coordinator and must publish their contact information. If you tell a school employee that you are pregnant or have a related condition (like needing to breast/chestfeed or pump milk after giving birth) they must tell you how to contact your Title IX Coordinator, and, once you contact the Title IX Coordinator, they have to inform you about your rights and help you access them, including your rights to reasonable modifications, taking a leave of absence, and lactation space.

  2. Your school must provide you with a clean, private space to pump breast milk if you’re lactating. This space cannot be a bathroom, and your school must also give you breaks during class to pump milk or breast/chestfeed. Your school also needs to give you other reasonable modifications for lactation if you need them, like a change to your school uniform.

  3. You have the right to certain reasonable modifications for your pregnancy or related conditions, regardless of whether non-pregnant students can get those same modifications. Your school also must provide you with modifications unless it can show that the modifications would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the school’s programs.

  4. Except in limited circumstances, schools can’t force you to provide a doctor’s note to participate in classes and activities. Your school may not exclude you from any classes or activities because of your pregnancy or a related condition, like childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, or lactation. You have the right to stay in your same classes and extracurricular activities, including honors and AP classes, honor society, sports, extracurriculars, clubs, and leadership opportunities.

  5. Sex-based discrimination against adoptive, foster, and stepparents is now clearly illegal. This means you can’t be treated differently for being a parent of a foster child, adopted child, or stepchild at school. 

For more information about your rights under Title IX, read our Know-Your-Rights guide on the law, or reach out to our free and confidential legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB or by filling out the contact form.

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