Title IX: Protecting the Rights of all Students
High schools have a moral duty to guarantee the safety of their students whether they are in the campus premises, cafeteria or parking lots. Sexual misconduct is one such aspect that has become increasingly prevalent in high schools. Schools must take action against perpetrators of these heinous acts to ensure victims receive justice.
Apart from ensuring that accusers receive justice, schools also have an obligation under Title IX to uphold the rights of the accused. In America, individuals are innocent until proven guilty and deserve a fair trial. No student should relinquish these constitutional rights simply because they are attending school.
What happens when a school finds itself at crossroads between these two obligations? Title IX guidelines come into play in sexual misconduct cases and outline what rules schools should follow while defining their obligations.
A Brief History of Title IX
Title IX has undergone changes since it was passed by Congress in 1972, with its primary aim being eradicating gender-based discrimination. The law states that no person shall be discriminated against based on gender while participating in or being denied certain benefits from any educational program receiving Federal Financial Aid.
While Title IX protected women’s rights fifty years ago during an environment hostile towards them, it subsequently shifted to holding both boys and girls accountable for perpetrating gender-based discrimination after being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Title IX at Work
What kind of procedures should schools be following concerning Title lX claims? First and foremost, at least one district employee should act as the districts Sex Equity Coordinator (SEC) who oversees matters related to sexual misconduct complaints received by the school district from students or employees acting on behalf of students within 24 hours.
If an individual encounters a policy violation relating to sexual harassment allegations under title IV via report made orally or written by email or phone call, then relevant personnel handling such reports will conduct investigations recognizing both parties’ due process rights while ensuring privacy concerns are observed. Additionally, claimants and defendants are entitled to support services including counselling and medical care as well as an advisor’s presence during interviews.
Title IX investigative procedures fall under the following topics:
The SEC conducts prompt, equitable, and impartial investigation processes
Both parties are notified if a formal complaint is filed
Complaints go through grievance procedures outlined in Title IX guidelines
The school district obtains details about harassment experiences and future safety measures along with appropriate corrective actions.
The state issues common policies on this subject matter.
An investigator files findings from an investigation within 60 calendar days after receiving reports or complaints; both parties have equal access to evidence summaries, ask questions of hearing witnesses, present documents or other evidence for consideration by decision-makers.
Decision-makers apply the preponderance of evidence standard first before arriving at a ruling. Once liable for any form of sexual offense under Title IX, recommended sanctions may include suspension, expulsion or community service/civic action projects serving a minimum number of hours set by the institution or agency responsible for overseeing such matters.
If either party should disagree with any part of the process or sanction recommended by decision-makers appointed by the SEC’s office handled through an appeal process within ten working days from delivery date notification. An advisor nominated by each side handles appeals without charging any fees on either side while aiming to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms.
Important Changes to Title IX
These policies were updated after the US education secretary Betsy DeVos passed guidelines dictating how schools should handle Title IX investigations in 2020 known as the Final Rule. These changes favor respondents more than claimants with newly granted rights that upholds due process rights during these proceedings.
Every parent wants their children to be safe while pursuing their studies with justice prevailing regardless of whatever happens. However, as most school districts do not take responsibility in ensuring that all coordinators and legal officers comply with Title IX laws concerning victims’ rights and those accused’ rights.
Fortunately, we have Attorney Todd Spodek who has helped students facing sexual misconduct allegations for years by providing them with the necessary advice and resources to ensure justice prevails. Whether your child is an accuser or accused individual, Mr. Spodek has built his practice to defend Title IX respondents nationwide and possesses the skills and experience to represent you any time.
No one should ever deny anyone their constitutional rights knowingly or unknowingly without risking severe consequences serving as a cautionary tale for future generations. If you require further information on this subject matter, please call our hotline number now at 888-555-3686 or fill out our online form today!