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The applicability of Federal civil rights laws to juvenile justice residential facilities.
Dec 18th, 2014 by

OCR and the U.S. Department of Justice jointly issued a Dear Colleague Letter concerning the applicability of Federal civil rights laws to juvenile justice residential facilities.

<excerpt>

 

December 8, 2014

 

Dear Colleague,
Although the overall number of youth involved in the juvenile justice system has been decreasing, there are still more than 60,000 young people in juvenile justice residential facilities in the United States on any given day.1 With the support of grants administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), juvenile justice residential facilities provide educational services to hundreds of thousands of students over the course of each year.2
The Departments are committed to working with juvenile justice residential facilities to ensure that all students have equal educational opportunities, while supporting these facilities in preparing these students for successful reentry into their communities, so that they are ready to return to their local schools and graduate, to continue or begin a postsecondary program, or enter employment. As part of these efforts, we write to remind you that the Federal civil rights laws, regulations, and guidance that prohibit race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and disability discrimination against students in traditional public schools also apply to educational services and supports offered or provided to youth in juvenile justice residential facilities.

 

Read the entire letter at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-residential-facilities-201412.pdf

 

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Feds target ‘sex stereotypes’ in US classrooms
Dec 15th, 2014 by

Source: http://thehill.com/regulation/227001-feds-target-sex-stereotypes-in-us-classrooms

 

By Lydia Wheeler – 12/13/14 10:37 AM EST The Obama administration is moving to outlaw public school curriculum establishing single-sex classrooms, where boys are taught about bikes and girls are quizzed about bracelets.

 

The Education Department issued guidance this month to clarify George W. Bush-era regulations that expanded the use of gender-specific education.

 

Groups have increasingly questioned the legality of education policies that have cropped up in the years since the 2006 rule was enacted.

 

“As we receive increasing inquiries about single-sex offerings we want to be clear what federal law allows: protect civil rights and promote achievement,” Catherine Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a news release.

 

Civil rights groups say they hope the guidance will put an end to unproven practices that have been creeping up across the country.

 

Lara Kaufmann, senior counsel and director of education policy for at-risk students with the National Women’s Law Center, criticized programs that she said rely on “sex stereotypes” and “unfounded theories” that boys and girls are so inherently different that they can’t learn the same way.

 

The different teaching techniques being employed in core classes at K-12 co-ed schools, advocates say, violate Title IX, a law passed in 1972 requiring general equality for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding.

 

Disparities, critics say, range from the subject matter taught in classroom to the approach of instructors.

 

Boys, for instance, are being spoken to more loudly and given more time for exercise in their classes, while girls spend class time sitting quietly and working collaboratively in groups.

 

The ACLU has filed a total of 10 administrative complaints with the federal Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights since 2012 against schools in Florida, Wisconsin, Idaho and Texas, and sued schools in Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky and West Virginia in 2009 and 2012.

 

The 2009 case in Louisana was against Vermilion Parish, a middle school that was giving all-girl classes quizzes on bracelets and all-boy classes quizzes on bikes, according to court documents

 

The school was also accused of assigning all-boys classes to read Where the Red Fern Grows because boys like hunting and dogs, while all-girl classes were assigned to read The Witch of Blackbird Pond because girls prefer love stories.

 

“If you look at the intention behind Title IX, whatever you may think about the merits of single sex education in theory, I think it’s clear that the form that it’s taken in the majority of these co-ed schools really goes to the heart of what Title IX was designed to prevent, which is the overt different treatment of boys and girls based on generalizations about their capacities and interests,” said Galen Sherwin, a senior staff attorney with ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.

 

The new guidance only impacts co-ed public schools, requiring that they identify what objectives they want to achieve by offering single-sex classes, avoid relying on gender stereotypes, and evaluate programs every two years.

 

But advocates of single-sex education say the new rules will kill a good thing that’s working in some districts.

 

Woodbridge Middle School in Virginia, said Leonard Sax, founder and executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, is going to be one of the schools affected.

 

“Principal Skyles Calhoun decided to boost grades and test scores by establishing a dual academy using very different teaching styles and it’s been successful so much so that grades and test scores have soared,” he said. “He will really now have to drop that. It will put him in violation of new federal guidelines.”

 

Sax admits single sex classes don’t work for everyone, but he said parents who can’t afford tuition to send their kids to a private school should have the option.

 

“I like to say I’m a proponent for choice in education,” he said. “The single-sex format is good for some kids and not for others.”

 

Competitive team formats are among the teaching techniques working so well in districts offering single sex classes.

 

Sax said schools divide boys into two groups and keep score for everything from academics to hallway behavior.

 

Studies have shown that boys want to compete against friends and girls would rather compete against strangers, he said.

 

“But that doesn’t work for girls,” Sax said. “If Sonia and Vanessa are best friends and you put them on opposing teams, Sonia doesn’t want to beat Vanessa, but Justin will go out of his way to knock down his friend Jason.”

 

 

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PowerPoint Presentation – Title IX and Conducting Investigations – Free and online
Dec 8th, 2014 by

The 2014 versions of the PowerPoint Presentation on “Title IX Coordinator Training” conducted October 2014 by Neena Chaudhry, Esq. and Lara S. Kaufmann, Esq. of the National Women’s Law Center and Dr. William A. Howe of the Connecticut State Department of Education

… and

The Nuts and Bolts of Writing an Investigation Report  conducted Fall, 2014 by Maree Sneed, Esq. Partner and Esther Haley Walker, Associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP

Are now available on our website.

To reach the site, go to the Connecticut State Department of Education web page at – http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/

  • In the right column marked QuickLinks, go down to the 7th item called Bullying and Harassment, click on that link
  • On the Bullying and Harassment page, near the bottom you will see “Also seeTitle IX Website.”
  • Click on Resources for Title IX Coordinators
  • About half-way down the page you will see:

 

Title IX Coordinator and Investigations Training

 

Click on [ppt] to open PowerPoint presentations.

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OCR issued Questions and Answers on single-sex elementary and secondary classes and extracurricular activities
Dec 2nd, 2014 by

Note: Today, OCR issued Questions and Answers on single-sex elementary and secondary classes and extracurricular activities.  The link is http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/faqs-title-ix-single-sex-201412.pdf.  These Questions and Answers address the legal requirements under the Department’s Title IX regulations governing single-sex elementary and secondary classes and extracurricular activities.

 

 

From: U.S. Department of Education [mailto:ed.gov@public.govdelivery.com]
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2014 9:17 AM
To:
Subject: Civil Rights Guidance to K-12 Schools on Single-Sex Classes

 

Dear Colleague:

Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance for K-12 schools that offer or want to offer single-sex classes. In response to numerous inquiries about the legality of single-sex classes, OCR issued guidance that charts a path for schools on how they can provide boys-only or girls-only instruction while remaining in compliance with civil rights laws.

To offer single-sex classes or extracurricular activities, schools must:

  • Identify an important objective that they seek to achieve by offering a single-sex class (such as improving academic achievement);
  • Demonstrate that the single-sex nature of the class is substantially related to achieving that objective;
  • Ensure that enrollment in the single-sex class is completely voluntary (through an opt-in, rather than an opt-out, process);
  • Offer a substantially equal coed class in the same subject;
  • Offer single-sex classes evenhandedly to male and female students;
  • Conduct periodic evaluations at least every two years to ensure that the classes continue to comply with Title IX;
  • Avoid relying on gender stereotypes;
  • Provide equitable access to single-sex classes to students with disabilities and English language learners; and,
  • Avoid discriminating against faculty members based on gender when assigning educators to single-sex classrooms.

The guidance document is presented in a question-and-answer format, offering common scenarios aimed at assisting schools and educators in designing single-sex programs that comply with Title IX.

For more information about OCR, please click here.

Thank you,

The Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education

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Chief of Army addresses allegations of unacceptable behaviour
Oct 17th, 2014 by

Published on Jun 12, 2013

Message from the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, to the Australian Army following the announcement on Thursday, 13 June 2013 of civilian police and Defence investigations into allegations of unacceptable behaviour by Army members.

 

Chief of Army addresses allegations of unacceptable behaviour

13 June 2013 | Media Release

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO today announced the suspension of three members of the Australian Army and that action had been initiated to consider the suspension of another five Army members, pending the outcome of civilian police and Defence investigations into allegations of unacceptable behaviour.

The investigations relate to evidence that a group of officers and non-commissioned officers of the Australian Army allegedly produced and distributed highly inappropriate material demeaning women, across both Defence computer systems and the public internet.

The production and distribution of the material dates back to 2010 and also appears to make veiled reference to drug use.

“There is no place for this behaviour in our Army, and in a Defence Force that prides itself on teamwork, courage and respect, and where women and men work alongside each other as colleagues and professionals,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

“It brings the Australian Army into disrepute and betrays all those whose service has established its enviable status among our citizens.

“I am, of course, cognisant of the need to keep an open mind and to let the evidence speak in regard to how these men are dealt with, but I view the allegations that are being made in the gravest light.”

The three Army members already suspended are the subject of an ongoing investigation by New South Wales Police.

The Army today initiated action to consider the suspension of another five members who are the subject of a parallel Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) investigation into a number of alleged Service offences. The ADFIS investigation is also ongoing.

Pending the outcome of the ongoing ADFIS investigation, the Army may consider further suspension decisions against nine others if the circumstances warrant.

ADFIS is also investigating a further 90 individuals who have been identified as peripheral to the group’s email exchanges. These 90 individuals are predominantly Army members.

Where any serious case is proven, the Chief of Army is resolved to take every step available to remove the individual responsible from the Army.

“If proven, these allegations could lead to the imposition of punishment, to these individuals being discharged from the Australian Army,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

“After the significant effort we have made to encourage women to enlist and remain in the Army, I am extremely concerned at what appears to have been uncovered.

“In the wake of the ADFA ‘Skype’ case, and the series of inquiries and reviews into various aspects of the ADF culture and military justice over the last 20 years, the leadership of the ADF no longer accepts the ‘bad apple’ argument when one of these incidents occurs.

“These behaviours are symptoms of a systemic problem and we will continue to address them in a comprehensive manner, through Defence’s Pathway to Change strategy.”

Army and Defence are engaging with and providing support to those women who have been affected by these allegations.

Defence is also providing support to those personnel who are the subject of these allegations.

Media note:
A transcript of today’s media conference will be available at http://news.defence.gov.au/.

Images from the media conference will be available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20130335.

Media contact:
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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