Accommodations for pregnant and parenting students approved

The Legislature gave final approval May 2 to a bill that requires schools to adopt a policy to accommodate pregnant and parenting students.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist07' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Tony Vargas'>Sen. Tony Vargas</a>
Sen. Tony Vargas

Introduced by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas, LB427 requires school districts to adopt a written policy providing standards and guidelines to accommodate absences related to pregnancy and child care for pregnant and parenting students by May 1, 2018. School policies are required to include the minimum standards contained in a model policy developed by the state Department of Education.

At a minimum, the policy must provide for student absences due to pregnancy and allow students to return to school and participate in extracurricular activities after pregnancy. It also must provide alternative methods for keeping pregnant or parenting students in the classroom by allowing them to complete coursework at home or by providing online classes or visits from tutors.

The model policy must identify private, hygienic spaces where students could express breast milk during the school day. Finally, if schools do not have an in-school child care facility, the policy must establish a procedure for assisting student parents by identifying local child care providers.

Current law allows a mother to breast-feed her child in any public or private location where she otherwise is authorized to be. LB427 expands that provision to include mothers who attend public, private, denominational or parochial day schools. The bill requires those schools to provide private or appropriate facilities or accommodation for milk expression and storage for their students.

The bill passed 31-7.

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