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Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant Students

St. Petersburg College affirms its equal opportunity policy in accordance with the provisions of the Florida Educational Equity Act and all other relevant state and federal laws, rules and regulations. The College will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or against any qualified individual with disabilities in its employment practices or in the admission and treatment of students.

The prohibition against sex discrimination in education is found, among other places, at Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (“Title IX”). Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex—including pregnancy and related conditions—in educational programs and activities that are eligible for federal funding. This means that all students who are pregnant or have pregnancy related conditions must have the same access to school programs and education opportunities as all other students.

The following policy and guidance is provided to ensure that students who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or who are requesting academic accommodations and assistance in regard to pregnancy related conditions, receive appropriate academic support and considerations, and appropriate accommodations where needed.

Classes and College Activities

Students have the right to continue participating in classes and extracurricular activities even though they are pregnant. This means that pregnant students can still participate in advanced placement and honors classes, college clubs, sports, honor societies, student leadership opportunities, and other activities/extracurricular programs operated at the college.

Students may participate in classes and extracurricular activities, including sports, even though they are pregnant, and will not be required to submit a doctor’s note to participate unless a doctor’s note is required from all students who have a physical or emotional condition requiring treatment by a doctor or hospitalization.

Excused Absences

If a student is absent from class due to pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions, the absence will be excused where documented as “medically necessary.” A student is required to notify her instructor to receive consideration in regard to excused absences which are medically necessary due to pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions.

When the student returns to school, she must be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before medical leave began, which includes giving students the opportunity to make up any work missed while they were out.

An instructor or program may also offer alternatives to completing missed work, such as retaking a course or semester, online course options, or additional time to finish coursework and completion requirements after a period of leave. A student may determine how she will make up the work as long as it does not create an unreasonable burden to an educational program and is compliant with provisions of Title IX. Additionally, if a grade is based on class attendance, a student must be permitted to earn the credits she missed and be reinstated to the status she held prior to the leave.

Academic Accommodations

To ensure a pregnant student’s access to an educational format, when necessary, a program must offer accommodations that are reasonable and responsive to the student’s temporary pregnancy status. The Offices of Accessibility Services will assist to facilitate academic accommodations, as needed and under its policies, to a student who has a temporary medical condition related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Accommodations may vary depending on the circumstance of the pregnancy, medical documentation, as well as academic program. Examples include the provision of adequate seating and table space and allowance of frequent restroom breaks.

An instructor may inquire about a student’s limitations only when it pertains to the classroom and the student’s successful completion of the course, however, a pregnant student is not required to produce a doctor’s note to participate in any academic activity unless the same requirement is required of all students in that program or activity.

Nondiscrimination Policy and Resources

The College does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any form, including harassment based on sex, gender or pregnancy, and will take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end pregnancy-related harassment, prevent its recurrence, and eliminate any hostile environment created by the harassment. It is illegal and a violation of the College’s nondiscrimination policy to allow pregnancy-related harassment by employees, students, or third parties interfere with a student’s ability to benefit from or participate in classes, programs or student activities.

It is anticipated and expected that students will proactively communicate the situation with those at the College who can provide the needed adjustments and support.

  • For questions or adjustments related to attendance, missed assignments, taking extra classroom breaks, etc., students should speak with their Instructor.
  • For questions or special adjustments in the classroom such as a special desk or chair or accommodations for a temporary disability due to a pregnancy related condition, students should contact Accessibility Services on their campus. http://www.spcollege.edu/accessibility/
  • For questions or adjustments that may be related to a program of study, academic progress or other academic related matters, students should speak with the Academic Chair, Program Director and/or Dean.
  • For other questions or concerns regarding Title IX compliance related to pregnant or parenting students at the College, contact the College’s Director of Equal Access/Equal Opportunity and Title IX Coordinator, Pamela Smith, by emailing smith.pam@spcollege.edu. The College’s discrimination grievance process can also be located at http://www.spcollege.edu/Discrimination/

What is the law?

Under Title IX of US Education Amendments of 1972 (Public Law No. 92-318, 86 Stat. 235), it is illegal to exclude a pregnant student from participating in any part of an educational program or activity of the College.  The Florida Civil Rights Act, Florida Statutes, 760.01, also prohibits discriminatory treatment of pregnant woman in employment, housing, education and public accommodation.

More information on Title IX and pregnancy can be obtained from the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights  http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/pregnancy.pdf