Pregnant students gain in settlement

first_img When one of the plaintiff students, a 15-year-old who had a baby girl in 2003, tried in 2004 to enroll at Antelope Valley High School and receive support services, district and LACOE officials told her that in order to receive Cal-SAFE services, she had to take the majority of her classes in the self-contained Cal-SAFE classroom, the lawsuit said. The student ended up signing up for college prep courses at the high school and gave up the support services, the lawsuit said. One of the two plaintiffs graduated this past year. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit that alleged that Antelope Valley students who are pregnant or have children were forced out of conventional public high schools and into inferior alternative programs. The agreement reached last week ensures that students have access to child care and parenting skills instruction without being denied access to classes at their high school. The federal lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in September 2004 on behalf of two teen mothers and named as defendants the Antelope Valley Union High School District and Los Angeles County Office of Education. “I’m glad we all reached this agreement,” one of the plaintiffs, now a senior at Antelope Valley High School, said in a written statement released Monday by the ACLU. “Now students who are parents can take college prep classes so they can go to college and their children can have a better life.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The lawsuit said state-funded support services, such as child care and parenting classes, were illegally refused to pregnant and parent students unless they attended the alternative educational program. Under federal and state law, pregnant students and teen mothers must be allowed to attend comprehensive public high schools while receiving support such as free child care and prenatal health instruction through a state program known as the California School Age Families Education, or Cal-SAFE, Program, the lawsuit said. The settlement was reached last week and ensures that the three high schools, which offer the Cal-SAFE program through the county education office, provide child care and parenting skills instruction while allowing them to take classes at their high school. “LACOE has agreed that in their Cal-SAFE program in the Antelope Valley, students can have a number of options with regard to educational choices,” said Ranjana Natarajan, ACLU staff attorney. “Students can stay in the one-room classroom that LACOE operates, they can take some classes at their regular high school and in the classroom, or they can take all their classes in a regular high school and still get Cal-SAFE support services.” The ACLU and the high school district reached a settlement in April, under which the district agreed to include information about the Cal-SAFE program and nondiscrimination in materials it distributes to students and parents. Antelope Valley students in the Cal-SAFE program were placed in three classrooms at Antelope Valley, Highland and Palmdale high schools that were jointly coordinated by the district and the county, and a fourth classroom at a county-operated school on Avenue J “with little or no teaching instruction,” the lawsuit said. last_img

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