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Education Options for Pregnant Teens
Just because a teenager gets pregnant does not mean their education is over. There are a number of education options for pregnant teens - more than you might think. Read on to find out more about the options available for pregnant teens to continue their education.
What Are the Choices?
In a nutshell, the education options for a pregnant teen include public school, including some charter schools - depending on where she lives - homeschooling, online education or distance learning, and residential programs designed for pregnant teens who have other issues that need to be addressed. There are plenty of schools for pregnant teens, if she has the desire to finish her education. Each choice is explored more fully below.
Public School for Pregnant Teens
The right to a free, public education is not ended by pregnancy. Specifically, paragraph 106.40 ("Marital or parental status") of Title 34 Subpart D "Discrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Prohibited" explicitly states:
"(b) Pregnancy and related conditions. (1) A recipient shall not discriminate against any student, or exclude any student from its education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student's pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom, unless the student requests voluntarily to participate in a separate portion of the program or activity of the recipient."
"(4) A recipient shall treat pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and recovery therefrom in the same manner and under the same policies as any other temporary disability with respect to any medical or hospital benefit, service, plan or policy which such recipient administers, operates, offers, or participates in with respect to students admitted to the recipient's educational program or activity.
(5) In the case of a recipient which does not maintain a leave policy for its students, or in the case of a student who does not otherwise qualify for leave under such a policy, a recipient shall treat pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and recovery therefrom as a justification for a leave of absence for so long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by the student's physician, at the conclusion of which the student shall be reinstated to the status which she held when the leave began."
In fact, some public schools have special programs to assist students both during pregnancy and after the baby is born. This is also true of at least one charter school, which is specifically designed for pregnant and parenting teens (The Polly Fox Academy in Toledo, Ohio). Nevertheless, not all public schools are equally equipped to deal with a pregnant student, and aspects of the situation that are not entirely within the school's control - such as how other students behave towards the pregnant teen - may impact the desirability of staying in the public school as an education option.
Homeschool for Pregnant Teens
Provided that one of her parents is available and feels up to the task, homeschool is an option that gives a pregnant teen a high degree of flexibility as far as program and completing her daily schoolwork when she feels most able. Homeschools are regulated by each state's education department, so check with your state's department about their requirements.
Online Education or Distance Learning for Pregnant Teens
A number of accredited alternatives are now available for online education or distance learning that could serve as an education option for a pregnant teen. There are faith-based programs, programs with special methodologies, and programs offered by universities. Instruction may be undertaken through a website, a correspondence course, or in webinars.
Residential Treatment Programs for Pregnant Teens
When a pregnant teen has other issues or risk factors, including a mood disorder, substance abuse, chemical dependency, running away, learning disabilities, or a history of abuse, a residential treatment program may be a consideration. With a proper placement, the teen will receive quality pre-natal care, treatment for her other issue(s), and appropriate educational opportunities.
U.S. Department of Education Title 34, Part 106: 2.ed.gov
Related Article: Parental Support of Pregnant Teens >>