Legal Responsibilities To Support Pregnant And Parenting Students

A Florida State College at Jacksonville sophomore who was turned away from an exam because she took her baby along may have recourse against the institution, after the U.S. Education Department warned colleges this week that they have legal responsibilities to support pregnant and parenting students.

Or, she may not.

The "Dear Colleague" letter and accompanying pamphlet of guidance and best practices that the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights released doesn’t address that student’s particular issue, but some say there’s room for interpretation.

The student, Rebecca Mabrey, says her husband wasn’t free to watch their son during her exam. Since the test was being proctored right around naptime, Mabrey figured he’d just sleep through the exam, wake up after and be ready for breastfeeding.

What Mabrey apparently didn’t know is that the college’s "Children on Campus" policy, which is published in the student handbook, bars children under 16 from "instructional areas." Mabrey was told to leave and says she hasn’t been allowed to make up the exam.

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