The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) announced today that the Board of Education, in response to an NYCLU complaint, is permitting a teenage mother to take her three-month-old son on the school bus with her. The girl, 17-year-old Takenya Tucker, had been barred from bringing the baby on to the school bus even though the baby is enrolled in a day care program at the high school she attends. On March 21st, the NYCLU intervened on Takenya’s behalf with the Board of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation.
“I want to thank Chancellor Levy for so swiftly resolving this problem. We’re delighted that Takenya’s story has a happy ending,” said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director. “But despite this one victory, there is still a problem in the school system of recurring discrimination against pregnant and parenting girls,” Lieberman added.
Takenya Tucker is an eleventh grader at the Lillian Rashkis High School of Telecommunications, Arts and Technology. Her son, Dayvon, is himself enrolled at the school’s LYFE day care program. When Takenya was told she couldn’t take her baby on the school bus for insurance reasons, she turned to the NYCLU for help and its lawyers filed a complaint with the Board of Education. The NYCLU noted in a March 21st letter that the refusal to let the baby on the bus “impedes her access to this necessary childcare service and creates a serious barrier to her continued education.”
Lieberman noted that the NYCLU has been receiving discrimination complaints on a regular basis from pregnant and parenting girls who are trying to complete their schooling. At a March 23rd press conference, she gave Schools’ Chancellor Harold Levy an “F” for failing to stop the discrimination. While pleased with the result in this particular case, Lieberman today repeated her offer to help the Board conduct a training program to ensure that all faculty and staff are sensitized to the needs and legal rights of pregnant and parenting girls in the New York City school system.