This month the Department of Education released proposed Title IX regulations that will weaken protections for student survivors of sexual harassment and assault. A few of the alarming changes include:
- Schools would be allowed—or even required—to ignore our youngest and most vulnerable students until the harassment is so severe and pervasive that a student is denied equal access to education. Schools might not do anything until a student fails a class or drops out. Instead, schools should be proactive and address harassment before it gets that bad.
- Schools would not have to investigate sexual harassment—even if it is reported to an employee—unless that employee is the Title IX coordinator or a teacher. This is concerning because children are far more likely to report sexual harassment to an adult they trust, but most of these adults—e.g., playground supervisors, guidance counselors, athletics coaches—would not be required to help them at all.
- Schools would be required to presume the survivor may be lying and to use a standard of evidence that tilts investigations in favor of named harassers and rapists and against survivors. This would make school proceedings more like criminal courts and would not treat both parties equally—a violation of Title IX itself.
According to federal law, the Department of Education must now go through a process called “Notice and Comment” in which the public has sixty days to voice their opinions on the proposed rules, and the Department must consider those comments before finalizing the regulations. That’s where you come in…
Please take these steps to stand up for Title IX:
- Educate yourself with resources from the National Women’s Law Center about the potential changes and what this news means.
- Learn from our partners at EROC and Know Your IX what makes a strong comment letter. Note: The more personalized you make your comment letter, the more impact it will have – the Department of Education counts how many responses they get on each issue to gauge the public’s level of concern, and they count duplicate letters as only one single response.
- Submit your comment in the form below. Please note: in order for your comment to make sense, you must customize it by deleting the instructions text and filling in the blanks.
Thank you for taking the time to weigh in on this issue that will profoundly affect the lives of girls.