On May 6, 2020, the Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations, which it says strengthen Title IX protections for survivors of sexual misconduct. Title IX is a federal statute that prohibits gender-based discrimination in schools.
The final rule requires a K-12 school to respond whenever any employee has notice of sexual harassment, including allegations of sexual harassment. This expands the notice requirements imposed by federal courts in our jurisdiction, which recognize notice only when an appropriate official with authority to institute corrective measures becomes aware of sexual harassment allegations.
The final rule also defines sexual harassment broadly to include any of the following three types of misconduct on the basis of sex:
- Any instance of quid pro quo harassment by a school’s employee;
- Any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access;
- Any instance of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The regulations, final rule overview, and summary can be accessed on the Department of Education’s website here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/newsroom.html. These new rules will impact how every campus handles claims of student harassment. ED311 is holding a webinar on June 11, 2020, 10am CDT: “New Title IX Regulations: What You Need To Know Now!” for more on these important issues. Don’t miss it!