Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in any federal funded educational institution. Educational institutions include public school districts, charter schools, public universities, and any private school or university that accepts any federal funding. Title IX protects both students and employees.
Title IX provides:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Title IX provides protections for individuals who have experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment. Educational institutions must appropriately respond to allegations of sexual violence and sexual harassment, including conducting an investigation of the harassment. If the investigation reveals the sexual violence created a hostile environment, the educational institution must take steps to eliminate the hostile environment and ensure the sexual violence does not reoccur. Educational institutions also must make resources available to the complainant, including counseling and academic support. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against an individual who asserts his or her rights under Title IX.
Title IX may intersect with Section 504 and the IDEA if a student experiences sexual violence, then develops a mental health disability, the student may require special education and/or related services.
Requirements of Title IX include:
- Each educational institution must designate at least one employee to serve as Title IX coordinator.
- Each educational institution must notify certain individuals, including applicants for admission and employment, students and parents of elementary and secondary school students, and employees, that it does not discriminate on the basis of sex.
Common issues that we see arise under Title IX include:
- Failure of the school to properly investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
- Failure of the school to ensure the individual who has experienced sexual harassment or assault is not subject to a hostile environment.
- Inequitable treatment of students based on gender.