ashton mullins y16sN3fCwIw unsplashSPRINGFIELD – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois has a birth rate of 14.6 births per 1,000 females between the ages of 15-19, and State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is ensuring policies will be put in place in the event that anyone has missed school due to pregnancy-related issues.

“Girls should not have to miss out on their education just because they got pregnant,” Hunter said. “Whether planned or not, pregnant girls deserve an access to their education.”

House Bill 3272 requires all school boards in the state to adopt written policies related to absences and missed homework or classwork assignments as a result of or related to a student's pregnancy.

Over 30% of teen girls who have dropped out of high school cite pregnancy or parenthood as a key reason. Rates are even higher for African American and Latino girls—38% and 36%, respectively.

“Girls should not be punished for being pregnant. School administrators can help accommodate pregnant students’ learning needs to ensure their pregnancy does not set them back in life,” Hunter said. “Having a child will surely be an obstacle to earning a degree, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.”

Hunter also addresses school board absence policies in House Bill 3099, which eliminates the Chicago Board of Education’s Office of Chronic Truant Adjudication, and instead requires the Chicago Board of Education to implement a socio-emotional focused attendance policy that targets the underlying causes of chronic truancy.

House Bill 3272 passed the Senate Education Committee Tuesday, and awaits further consideration from the full Senate. House Bill 3099 also awaits to be heard on the Senate Floor.

Category: News

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