Oct. 12, 2015
Today, it’s not out of the ordinary to see a pregnant college student.
What is unusual is how pregnant students are treated during the school year, and the ripple effect professors can have if they don’t work with her schedule.
At the beginning of the semester, professors outline their expectations for the class by giving students syllabi.
A commonly reviewed part of each syllabus is the attendance policy, which can range in severity depending on the professor.
While it is a privilege to attend class every day, I learned there are some students deprived the same luxury.
My good friend is pregnant and is still attending class. She explained her situation and expected due date to her teachers.
All of them told her she could turn in her homework via email or blackboard.
All except one.
While going through the attendance policy, the professor said students can have up to three unexcused absences.
If students were to leave early or arrive late it would count as a half absence. If students need to take off for religious holidays that is considered permissible and will not be counted as an unexcused absence.
Both points are understandable.
But when my friend asked about taking time off for the birth of her child, the professor replied she would have to use her three unexcused absences and that if she misses any more than that, she is risking her grade.
Is a religious holiday not on the same level as giving birth? After hearing this, many students recommended she talk to disability services or someone higher up in position. Upon arriving at disability services, she was told that it was up to the professor.
“I think that most professors are understanding when it comes to missing days when you are pregnant,” said Jenette Belgrave, a senior English major and pregnant student this semester.
“I don’t think professors should have a number of days you can miss because I feel like when you go to college you are held responsible for yourself. If you miss it you miss the work and that reflects in your grade.”
After childbirth, doctors can recommend the mother to be on bed rest for a month. If a student gives birth mid-semester, this can be hard to follow while attending class.
Students that are pregnant should not be forced to give birth to a child then be expected to be in class the very next day. Nor should their grade be affected solely on the fact that they miss class when there is still homework and tests.
I think we are all adult enough to not have attendance a part of our grade, pregnant or not.