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SPRINGFIELD – A measure led by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) to ensure policies will be put in place if someone misses school due to pregnancy-related issues is now law.

“Pregnant women still deserve quality access to education,” Hunter said. “Girls should not have to miss out schooling just because they got pregnant.”

Under the law, all Illinois school boards will be required 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 Latina girls—38% and 36%, respectively.

“Students 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 and pursuing a degree may still be a challenge, 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 3099 was signed into law Friday and is effective Jan. 1, 2022. House Bill 3272 was signed into law Friday and is effective immediately.