The long-awaited proposed Title IX regulations have been issued by the U.S. Department of Education and are available here. The national media is buzzing about the changes as they impact colleges and universities - but what about K-12?
Here are some of the key provisions of the proposed regulations:
- The proposed rule would require schools to respond meaningfully to every known report of sexual harassment and to investigate every formal complaint.
- The proposed rule highlights the importance of supportive measures designed to preserve or restore a student's access to the school's education program or activity, with or without a formal complaint. Supportive measures may include the following:
- Academic course adjustments
- No-contact orders
- Leaves of absence
- Class schedule changes
- Where there has been a finding of responsibility, the proposed rule would require remedies for the survivor to restore or preserve access to the school's education program or activity.
- The proposed rule would require schools to apply basic due process protections for students, including a presumption of innocence throughout the grievance process; written notice of allegations and an equal opportunity to review all evidence collected; and the right to cross- examination, subject to "rape shield" protections.
- To promote impartial decisions, schools would not be allowed to use a "single investigator" or "investigator-only" model.
- Under the proposed rule, if a school chooses to offer an appeal, both parties can appeal.
- Consistent with U.S. Supreme Court Title IX cases, the proposed rule defines sexual harassment as unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school's education program or activity.
- The proposed rule adopts the Clery Act definition of sexual assault and includes it in the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX.
The Education Department's proposed Title IX rule will be open for public comment for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.