Know Your Rights: Think Title IX

During the summer, the last thing we want to think about is going back to school. Perhaps there is a teen parent out there who thinks she can’t go back because she’s pregnant, or parenting. Maybe he/she were told they shouldn’t go back to school, or that they would have a hard time making it. The summer is the perfect time to study one thing: All about Title IX.

Many people have heard about Title IX in its context relating to sports. Girls’ sports were neglected and not enough money was allocated in school budgets’ to support them. The advent of Title IX in 1971 protected girls’ athletics, but that was only one part of this new law. Title IX also protects pregnant and parenting teens in schools. The law states that no student shall be denied access to education because they are pregnant or parenting.

I was a teen parent eleven years ago who was asked to consider night school. When I asked for home and hospital classes, administration took a very long time to grant my request. I was bullied and rejected by peers and teachers alike. I didn’t know my rights. I didn’t know I could have gotten help to remedy all these actions against me. Thankfully, I had support and I didn’t give up. That same support system allowed me to continue my education, and end up where I am – a successful former teen parent who has just finished her first semester in grad school. Go Title IX.

If you’re pregnant or parenting and unsure about going back to school, please remember you have people on your side. You have rights. There are people advocating for you and believe in your potential. Pursue your education. Do not let anyone tell you that you don’t belong in school or that you are a lost cause. Every day will seem like a challenge, but the great thing about is that every day you will succeed. 

Visit the Title IX information page. Talk to a trusted adult about how it relates to you and your specific situation. If you’re a youth service provider, I urge you to familiarize yourself with this law and how you can continue to support teen parents. Title IX allowed me to be successful; it can do the same for so many others. 

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