Pregnant High School Students in Denver Ask for Maternity Leave

Teen mothers-to-be attending a Denver high school are asking for at least four weeks maternity leave, saying they don't want to be penalized for absences while healing and bonding with their new babies, The Denver Post reports.

The current policy at East High School requires new mothers to return to school the day after they are discharged from the hospital or be penalized for unexcused absences, the paper said.

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Two of the school's counselors told the school board last month that the current policy is unfair and inconsiderate, according to the report. Kayla Lewis, a senior at East High School who is five months pregnant, also asked the board to consider a maternity leave for students at a Dec. 20 public hearing.

"My initial reaction is if we are punishing girls like that, that is unacceptable," Nicole Head, one of the counselors who brought the matter to the school board last month, told The Post. "We've got to do something."

District officials are reviewing the policy on absences to make it "friendlier" to new moms, DPS spokesman Alex Sanchez told The Post. The Denver Public Schools don't have a policy regarding pregnant students, allowing schools to set their own policy.