3.12 Notification of Rights to Pregnant and Parenting Students & Parents/Guardians of Pregnant and Parenting Students


Please review this section related to the rights to pregnant and parenting students & parents/guardians of pregnant and parenting students

I. The Right to Equal Education and Full Participation

A. “Know Your Rights: Pregnant and Parenting Students” Fact Sheet 

Pregnant and parenting students will benefit from information about District and community resources, especially those that may assist them in gaining support and services to stay in school. A fact sheet outlining educational rights, entitled “Know Your Rights: Pregnant and Parenting Students” has been developed to provide all students  with important information about their rights, their responsibility to continue attending school, educational options and information regarding assistance available. When District staff become aware of a student’s pregnancy or impending parenthood, staff should provide the fact sheet and provide supports to make the student aware of their educational rights and programs and services that may be of assistance to them. 


B. Enrollment and Participation 

Students who are pregnant or parenting have the right to enroll in, as well as to return to, any school/program for which they would otherwise qualify at any stage of the pregnancy. They have the right to remain in their regular or current school program, including elementary or secondary schools, honors and magnet programs, special education school placements, alternative/options programs, migrant education, free and reduced lunch programs and services for English learners, and any other program, service, or activity for which they otherwise qualify. This would include participation in graduation, culmination activities, awards, ceremonies, field trips, student clubs, councils, afterschool activities, and any other school-related activities or programs. Students cannot legally be expelled, suspended, or otherwise excluded from, or required to participate in, school programs solely on the basis of their pregnancy-related conditions, or marital or parental status. 


C. School Climate 

Pregnant and parenting students have the right to attend school in an environment free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying. School site leadership and all school personnel should work collaboratively with school community stakeholders to create and maintain a school culture where students feel welcome, safe, and respected. 


D. Reasonable Accommodations to Facilitate Full Participation and Academic Credit 

Schools must treat pregnancy and related conditions as they treat any other medical condition. Health plans, medical benefits, related services and accommodations to facilitate full participation are to be provided to pregnant students in the same manner as these services are provided to students with any other temporary disabilities. District and County schools and programs must make reasonable accommodations to facilitate equal access and full participation of pregnant and parenting students. A pregnant or parenting student shall not incur an academic penalty as a result of request for or use of reasonable accommodations during the school day and shall be afforded an opportunity to make up any work missed due to such use. A complaint of noncompliance with the provision of reasonable accommodations for lactating students may be filed under the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures process.


Such reasonable accommodations, implemented on a case-by-case basis, may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Providing hall passes for bathroom use as needed  
  • Scheduling classes in more accessible locations  
  • Providing a larger desk or work space  
  • Allowing elevator access when needed and possible  
  • Allowing additional time for passing periods, nutrition and lunch  
  • Providing modified activities in physical education programs when requested by the student and the student’s medical provider  
  • Arranging for school-based independent study during an extended pregnancy-related medical absence or alternative comparable educational options for a pupil who chooses not to return to the school of previous enrollment  
  • Allowing eight weeks or more of parental leave to be verified by the school site as “excused” absences.  This may include excusing absences before the birth, if there is a medical necessity and after childbirth during the school year in which the birth takes place in order to protect the health of the pupil who gives or expects to give birth and to allow the pregnant or parenting pupil to care for and bond with the infant. The pupil shall not be required to complete academic work or other school requirements during the leave, but may return to the school and the course of study in which they were enrolled before taking the leave. The pupil is entitled to opportunities to make up equivalent missed work that can reasonably be provided. As determined by the teacher of the class from which the pupil was absent, upon satisfactory completion within a reasonable period of time, the pupil shall be given full credit for the work completed. 


Pregnant and parenting students may also remain enrolled or re-enroll for a fifth year of instruction when necessary in order for the pupil to be able to complete state and local graduation requirements, unless it is determined that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the requirements in time to graduate by the end of the fourth year of high school.  Allowing scheduling flexibility, whenever possible, to enable full participation and reduce school absences due to medical concerns.  Examples of such flexibility may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Facilitating changes to minimize loss of school time and to provide access to childcare 
  • Allowing a reduced schedule of classes or independent study course contracts for a student with medical complications 


Schools must also make reasonable accommodations to the educational program and activities that are responsive to a student’s lactating status. Reasonable accommodations for a lactating student include, but are not limited to:  

  • Providing a reasonable amount of time to accommodate a student’s need to express breast milk or breast-feed an infant child.  Examples of a reasonable amount of time could range from 20 to 40 minutes, two to three times a day; consider a lactation schedule or requesting consultation from a School Nurse in order to allow a student to breastfeed or express milk at regular intervals  Include time to set up and clean equipment, and collect, label and store milk  
  • Access to a private and secure room (for example, a room where the door locks, a message is placed on the door that the room is in use, and/or blinds/curtains are drawn), other than a restroom, to express breast milk or breast-feed an infant child.  Examples of such access could include: 
    • A vacant office 
    • A room which can be arranged to be used by the lactating student during specific times of day 
    • A lounge
    • A first aid room 
    • A dressing room 
    • A cubicle with a partition or curtain  
    • Permission to bring onto a school campus a breast pump and any other equipment used to express breast milk  
    • Access to a power source for a breast pump or any other equipment used to express breast milk  Access to a place to store expressed breast milk safely 
    • Examples related to storing expressed breast milk could include: 
    • A storage location for an ice chest or cooler 
    • A dedicated refrigerator (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends breast milk is stored at room temperature up to 77°F in a 6 to 8 hour period. Containers should be covered and kept as cool as possible. If students carry their own insulated cooler bag, the recommended temperature is 5-39°F using ice packs in contact with milk containers at all times and with limited opening of the cooler.)


E. Conditions for Requiring a Licensed Healthcare Provider’s Written Permission for School Participation 

Pregnant/parenting teens have the right to remain in their regular or current school. Schools may require a student to provide written permission from the student’s licensed healthcare provider that the student is physically and emotionally able to continue to participate in a particular school activity/program if such permission is also required for other students’ health conditions or temporary disabilities requiring medical care. For example, a student who has been hospitalized due to childbirth may be required to submit a medical permission for re-entry to school if such permission is required of students who have been hospitalized for other medical treatments/conditions.


F. Participation in Physical Education 

Pregnant and parenting students are entitled to participate in physical education and school sports on the same basis as other students. A school may ask a student to obtain certification of a licensed healthcare provider regarding the student’s participation when such certification is required of students for other conditions requiring attention of a licensed healthcare provider. When students cannot meet the requirements of the regular physical education curriculum, schools must provide students with a modified physical education curriculum. This curriculum should be modified to accommodate students’ health and physical limitations as defined by their licensed healthcare provider and should provide physical education credit. 

II. Confidentiality and Disclosure of Pregnancy

A. Students’ Confidentiality Rights Regarding Pregnancy and Related Care 

Pregnant and parenting students have the right to have their health and personal information kept confidential. Information about students’ pregnancies and related conditions should not appear in their cumulative or health record and cannot be used when they are being considered for educational or job opportunities, awards or scholarships. Personal and sensitive health information students share with administrators, teachers, and licensed school personnel such as a school nurse, social worker, psychologist, or counselor is confidential and should not appear in students’ educational records. In general, staff should not discuss or disclose a student’s confidential information or communications without the individual student and/or parent/guardian’s permission. An exception to this rule of confidentiality includes, but is not limited to, a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or a clear and present danger to the health or safety of the student or others. In cases of suspected child abuse, employees are required, as mandated reporters, to make a report to a Child Protective Services, as outlined in the District’s child abuse reporting policy. This child abuse reporting responsibility does not include notifying students’ parents/guardians of a pregnancy or related condition. Please note that the pregnancy of a minor, in and of itself, may not warrant a suspected child abuse report. Where students’ parents/guardians are unaware of a pregnancy, students may be encouraged to involve their parents/guardians, but must not be coerced to do so. 


B. Students’ Right to Consent to Confidential Medical Services 

Minors have a legal right to consent to their own medical care related to pregnancy, pregnancy prevention, including contraceptive services, and other reproductive health services including pregnancy termination (Family Code section 6925). This right applies to all youth and is not limited to pregnant and parenting teens, and means that minors may receive confidential medical services, as described above, without the knowledge or consent of their parent/guardian. In addition, any written verification regarding confidential medical services shall not appear in students’ school records and shall be kept in a separate confidential file. In recognition of this right, the Education Code states that school authorities may excuse any pupil in grades 7 through 12 from school for the purpose of obtaining confidential medical services without the consent of a parent/guardian. This information is conveyed in the District’s Student and Family Handbook. In addition, schools may not require that students obtain written parental/guardian permission prior to releasing students from school to receive confidential medical services and may not notify parents/guardians when students leave school to obtain such services. 

III. Attendance and Excused Absences

A. Attendance 

Every child, age 6 to 18, has the right and obligation to attend school. All pregnant and parenting students who are minors, regardless of their marital status, have the same obligation to comply with compulsory school attendance laws as all other students under the age of 18. 


B. Short Term Excused Absences 

Under state law, verified absence from school for a student’s own illness or medical appointment during school hours is generally considered excused. Students with excused absences, such as pregnancy-related illnesses, or the medical care of related conditions shall be treated like all other students with excused absences. Students shall also be considered excused when their absences are due to the illness or the medical appointment of a child for whom students are the custodial parents. Students with excused absences shall be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed, or a reasonable equivalent of the work missed, during the absence. Students shall be given full credit upon satisfactory completion of that work in a reasonable time period. A school may require verification of appointments from pregnant students’ licensed healthcare providers, or the licensed healthcare providers for students’ children, if such verification is also required from students for other medically related absences. Any such oral or written verification, however, shall not appear in the student’s school records and shall be kept in a separate confidential file. 


C. Extended Excused Absences/Leaves of Absence

 Students are entitled to an extended absence or leave of absence for reasons of pregnancy and related conditions. Schools shall not check out or withdraw students from enrollment based solely on consecutive absences or adopt an “automatic drop” policy as a remedy to a prolonged absence. Schools shall follow District attendance intervention policy and procedures as outlined in the Attendance Policy.


Documentation from students’ licensed healthcare providers may be required for verification of pregnancy and medically-related conditions if also required for all absences due to medical conditions. A leave of absence may be for eight weeks or more, as deemed medically necessary by students’ licensed healthcare providers. At the conclusion of a leave, students must be reinstated at the school with the same status as before the leave began.  School-based independent study activities should be made available for students who are or will be absent for a significant period of time due to illness, including pregnancy-related illnesses, childbirth, and recovery.  An Independent study program at the home school may also be considered as a voluntary option for periods such as the last weeks of pregnancy (Guidelines for Independent Study). Written permission from a licensed healthcare provider is required for readmission as it is for all absences due to medical conditions. Students with excused absences must be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed, or a reasonable equivalent of the work missed during their absence. Once work is satisfactorily completed within a reasonable time period, students must be given full credit. In addition, students who meet the requirements of this section may not be denied privileges or the right to participate in any school activities due to their excused absence. This policy regarding the handling of excused absences follows the mandates of both Title IX and Education Code and supersedes school-based attendance or other policies regarding allowable numbers of absences or ability to make up missed schoolwork. 


D. Home Hospital School Referrals 

Home Hospital provides instructional services to meet the needs of students with serious, disabling medical illnesses or conditions that prevent their school attendance. Pregnancy alone is not considered a serious, disabling condition preventing school attendance, and pregnant students are not generally eligible for Home/Hospital School Services. However, home hospital referrals may be indicated in cases of pregnancy or postpartum complications where serious, disabling illnesses or medical conditions prohibit a students’ attendance in school or independent study. The school nurse or principal’s designee at sites without a school nurse, in consultation with students’ licensed healthcare providers, may make home hospital referrals. Referrals will require medical documentation. Counseling and administrative staff should explore school site options and accommodations before making a referral. Pregnant students whose medical complications do not prohibit participation in independent study may be able to continue their school progress through participation in an independent study program implemented at their current school or through other programs such as Independence High

IV. Pregnant Minor Schools and Specialized Classes or Programs

Pregnant students may elect to enroll at Hilltop Services Center.  Enrollment must be voluntary and students may not be denied access to their regular school programs. Students choosing to attend Hilltop will be provided with the “Know Your Rights: Pregnant and Parenting Students” fact sheet.  Hilltop offers a small campus, a shortened day, and classes in child development, nutrition, health, childbirth education, and parenting for students in grades 6 through 12. The school has access to a nurse who is on site three to four days per week. Food service and transportation assistance (for example, tokens or bus passes) are also provided and there is limited on-campus childcare. Hilltop uses an individualized instructional contract model providing core curriculum and selected electives with transferable credits. Students may enroll at any time of the school year.  For contact information regarding Hilltop, please see their websitebrochure, or call 415-695-5606.


Each student’s educational needs shall be carefully evaluated before transferring each student to another school or program. When transfers occur close to the end of a semester or grading period, students should be assisted by a counselor or administrator in arranging to ensure that credits are not lost during the process. This facilitates students’ ability to be on track for graduation and/or planning to attend college. Students should be informed that some college preparatory courses, honors classes, laboratory classes, and advanced placement courses might not be available at Pregnant Minor, Alternative, or Options Schools or Programs. If such classes are not available at the school site, staff members shall facilitate concurrent enrollment in a nearby school or an approved alternative educational setting, such as an adult school, skills center, occupational center, or community college. Coursework/extracurricular activities offered to pregnant and parenting students in specialized programs must be comparable to those offered to nonpregnant/parenting students in the regular school program. In addition, students who elect to attend an alternative educational program shall be informed of their right to transfer back to their original school/program. 


A. Enrollment at Hilltop Services Center

Elementary school students may be enrolled at Hilltop on a case-by-case basis. Contact the school principal for assistance. All students, including elementary school students, have the same right to continued attendance at their regular school, and transfers to Hilltop must be voluntary. Parents/guardians must accompany minor students when enrolling them in a Pregnant Minor School, as with enrollment in any school. In addition, students will be required to provide a written confirmation of pregnancy, with due dates, from their licensed healthcare providers. Pregnancy can be a difficult and stressful time for students and their families, and school changes may pose challenges and additional stress without adequate support. Communication, collaboration, and support from school staff are crucial to ensuring on-going educational success. Reasonable efforts shall be made by sending and receiving schools to ensure appropriate and timely transfer of students, and school personnel shall assist and follow up with students who do not complete the transfer process in a timely manner. These efforts might include, but are not limited to: 

  • Scheduling and confirming an appointment date for enrollment at the new school, identifying and removing any barriers to student/family attending the enrollment appointment as scheduled  Ensuring the transfer and re-enrollment has been completed  
  • Making a referral to a school or Local District PSA Counselor to locate and assist students when transfers/re-enrollment is not completed in a timely manner  
  • Planning with students for their return 


B. Additional Educational Options 

The additional responsibilities of pregnancy and parenthood may make it difficult for some students to attend school due to limited childcare or work obligations. Educational programs providing shortened days or schedules that are more flexible may provide these students with valuable educational alternatives. Programs such as Independence High, County Community School programs, or City College of SF may offer alternative educational options for students who are unable to attend school full time. Pregnant and parenting students who are minors have “adult status” for the purpose of adult school attendance and may enroll in adult education classes even if they are not concurrently enrolled in any other District or County educational programs (Education Code §52610.5). Many Community Adult Schools offer afternoon or evening classes and have flexible independent study programs. Alternative options should be discussed with counseling staff at both the home school and the alternative program to make sure they best meet students’ educational needs.



V. Documentation Required for Enrollment

School personnel shall follow policy and procedure regarding student enrollment, including use of the Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit where appropriate for students who may be enrolled by a relative or non-relative caregiver. 

VI. Childcare and Case Management Resources for Teen Parents

Hilltop has a childcare center on campus. The use of school-based childcare is open to all SFUSD students who are fathers and/or mothers. Support services such as case management, social services, referrals for benefits, and childcare are vital resources for many pregnant and parenting students and can remove barriers to school attendance. A credentialed School Nurse and credentialed SSW assist students to achieve a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, to become a better parent, and build a strong network of support. The Nurse and SSW provide resources for health and childcare, job training and other support services available in the District such as referrals to School Mental Health and community based agencies.

VII. Discrimination, Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Complaints Concerning Students Who are Pregnant or Parenting

The District makes available grievance/complaint procedures in the following policies for anyone who believes the District is violating regulations pertaining to pregnant/parenting students as set forth in Title IX:  Title IX Policy/Complaint ProceduresBullying & HarassmentUniform Complaint Procedures (UCP), which describes the filing and investigation/resolution process to be used when alleging the District has practiced unlawful harassment, discrimination, intimidation or bullying or failed to comply with state/federal laws governing its educational programs. 


This is the policy of the Superintendent of Schools. The following legal standards are applied in this policy: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681, et. seq. Title IX Regulations, Title 34, Code of Regulations, Part 106 Title 5, California Code of Regulations §4950 California Education Code §200, §201, §220, §221.5, §222, §230, §46010.1, §48200, §48205, §49061, §49602, §51222 and §51241 California Family Code §6924 and §6925, California Penal Code §11166

This page was last updated on April 15, 2024