Pregnant students have rights the college community may not be aware of.
By Maria Gardner
Students and faculty may not be aware of the rights pregnant students are accorded under Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Jacob-Aidan Martinez, director of student conduct and Title IX , said Jan. 18.
Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, according to the Department of Education website at www.ed.gov.
“Title IX changes all the time and we have to be compliant because we can lose all federal funding,” Martinez said in an interview.
Martinez said the issue that is most common is that pregnant women are being dropped for excessive absences when the professor is required to provide accommodations for the pregnant students.
“Adjunct professors are not familiar with the law. They are part time, so they are not required to attend the SAC Cares training overview that we hold in the beginning of the school year during convocation,” Martinez said.
“All employees take a training through the district, but it happens every two years,” he said,
He said pregnant students have rights to certain accommodations such as a larger desk, and if a student misses a test, a proctor can be provided for a makeup test.
“Every student has the same classes, but how you go about doing the assignments will be different,” he said.
One example he described is a pregnant student enrolled in a kinesiology class would be allowed to do alternate exercises for any difficult to accomplish.
If a student misses class or a deadline for assignments, a schedule can be created that gives the student more time to complete the work.
“We haven’t had an instance, but if they missed the first day of class, they would be protected,” he said. Colleges in the district have a policy allowing faculty to drop students who miss the first day of class.
When students miss so much that they are unable to make up the work, an administrative withdraw can be granted, he said.
“It is a protected withdraw and doesn’t count as part of the six-drop rule,” he said.
According to the definition of the six-drop rule posted on this college’s website, a state law passed in 2007 “limits the number of classes students can drop throughout their entire undergraduate career to six.”
Since spring 2016, seven students have exercised their Title IX rights because of pregnancy, Martinez said.
“Their professor drop-ped them or was going to drop them,” he said.
“If the student is already passing, they would receive an incomplete, which gives them more time to complete their work and does not count against their GPA.”
Six of students are enrolled in this college.
Pregnant students who are dropped and are not allowed accommodation should reach out to the SAC Cares Department in Room 101 of the nursing complex or call 210-486-0926.
Martinez said the office can help students understand their options and if they decide to drop a class, guide them through the process.
“It’s better to say something than getting all F’s,” he said.
The best practice for pregnant students is to communicate with their instructors if they have to miss class or deadlines, Martinez said.
“You need to communicate with them (professors),” he said.
If students do not feel comfortable speaking with their professor about their physical condition, Martinez said he can serve as a liaison between the student and professor.
At SAC Cares, “we are like an advocacy center,” he said.