The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Texas must work to better protect the legal rights of pregnant teenagers within its school districts. Without statewide requirements to ensure the elimination of pregnancy discrimination against students, school districts’ policies vary greatly and often include policies counter to the protections afforded both in Title IX and the Texas Education Code. Title IX requires the choice to attend an alternative school be completely voluntary. However, upon inspection, many Texas schools seem to violate this requirement by compelling or pressuring pregnant students to attend alternative education programs instead of adequately informing them of their educational options. The Texas Education Code guarantees all students access to a quality education and equal opportunities to participate in education, services or activities within a given district. Yet, many alternative education programs lack the extra-curricular activities or advanced placement classes offered by the home campus, creating innately unequal opportunities. These violations occur in large part because many school employees, including those at one of the top alternative education schools in Texas, are unaware of the rights afforded to pregnant teenagers and further perpetuate subtle forms of discrimination against pregnant students themselves. To remedy the inequities of education for pregnant teenagers, several steps must be taken. First, the state must uncover exactly which districts violate pregnant teenagers’ right to education. Second, districts should establish mandatory training for school employees to educate them on the state’s policies regarding pregnant teenagers’ rights. Third, districts should educate all students of the rights afforded to them under Title IX. Finally, the Texas Education Agency must hold alternative education programs accountable when quality education and equal opportunities are not provided to the students in their programs. By implementing these solutions, Texas and its school districts would ensure that pregnant teenagers are able to receive the quality education they need to succeed in society and are entitled to under Title IX and the Texas Education Code.

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