Feds Aim for Fall Release of Campus Sexual Misconduct Rule

Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2018/05/11/feds-aim-fall-release-campus-sexual-misconduct-rule?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=6f6e6b0d05-DNU20180111&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fc


May 11, 2018

The Department of Education plans to issue a draft regulation in September governing colleges’ handling of campus sexual misconduct, according to an update of the Trump administration’s federal regulatory agenda this week.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said when she rescinded Obama administration guidance on campus sexual assault that her department would issue a new binding regulation within the next year. The department indicated later that a new rule could be released as soon as this spring.

“I don’t read too much into it other than the fact that this is really hard and they’re trying to get it right,” said Terry Hartle, senior vice president for government relations and public affairs at the American Council on Education.

Hartle said that in a best-case scenario for the department, it would take between three and four months to review comments on a proposed rule and submit a final regulation. That could mean assuming a September release date of a proposed rule, a final regulation may not be issued until next spring.

The Department of Education, meanwhile, is still waiting for Senate confirmation of Kenneth L. Marcus, the White House nominee for assistant secretary for civil rights. The Office for Civil Rights, which Marcus would lead if confirmed, would oversee colleges’ compliance with a new regulation.


Prevent retaliation when reporting K-12 sexual harassment- VIDEO

To learn more about addressing sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools, watch Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! at https://youtu.be/8z9d7gnEuxI, and visit the free resources at http://ssais.org/video. #MeTooK12



Analysis shows thousands of sexual assaults by K-12 students

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Chaz Wing was 12 when they cornered him in the school bathroom. The students who tormented him were children, too, entering the age of pimples and cracking voices.

Eventually, he swore under oath, the boys raped him and left him bleeding, the culmination of a year of harassment. Though Chaz repeatedly told teachers and administrators about the insults and physical attacks, he didn’t report being sexually assaulted until a year later, launching a long legal fight over whether his school had done enough to protect him.

Chaz’s saga is more than a tale of escalating bullying. Across the U.S., thousands of students have been sexually assaulted, by other students, in high schools, junior highs and even elementary schools — a hidden horror educators have long been warned not to ignore.

Relying on state education records, supplemented by federal crime data, a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press uncovered roughly 17,000 official reports of sex assaults by students over a four-year period, from fall 2011 to spring 2015.


“No principal wants their school to be the rape school,” said Dr. Bill Howe, a former teacher who spent 17 years overseeing Connecticut’s compliance with a federal law that helps protect student victims of at-school sexual assault. “It’s the courageous principal that does the right thing.”


Read the entire article at http://www.bendbulletin.com/nation/5271393-151/analysis-shows-thousands-of-sexual-assaults-by-k-12



Civil rights groups sue Betsy DeVos over sexual assault policy

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/25/politics/devos-title-ix-lawsuit-sexual-violence/index.html

Washington (CNN)A group of civil rights advocacy groups filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Education Department and its secretary, Betsy Devos, challenging the department’s move last year to roll back Obama-era guidelines on how colleges and universities should handle sexual assault and sexual violence.

In 2011, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights said that colleges should use the “preponderance of the evidence,” the lowest standard of proof, when judging sexual violence cases under Title IX, the federal law that protects people from sexual discrimination in education or other programs receiving federal aid. In September 2017, the Education Department said that colleges and universities could abandon that guidance and use a higher standard, “clear and convincing evidence.”

At that time, the Education Department said that the Obama-era rules “created a system that lacked basic elements of due process and failed to ensure fundamental fairness.”
In a press conference outside the Department of Education on Thursday, leaders of the groups challenged the change, saying that the Obama-era policy included critical protections for survivors of sexual assault, and that the Department’s guidance under DeVos had produced a “chilling effect” on survivors coming forward.
Stacy Malone, the executive director of the Victim Rights Law Center, said that before Obama issued the 2011 guidance, sexual assault survivors “did not feel like they had a voice on the own campus.” Since the Education Department rescinded that guidance, she said, survivors are back at square one.

“They fear they are no longer able to get a fair shake,” she said. “Their reports will not be taken seriously because survivors will be dismissed as women who had drunk regret sex as opposed to who they really are, victims of sexual violence.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, lists DeVos, the Department of Education and Candice Jackson, the top civil rights official at the department, as defendants. Jackson came under fire last year for saying in a New York Times interview that ’90 percent’ of sexual assault allegations come after drunken hookups. She later apologized.

In the lawsuit, the groups allege that the Education Department’s new rules surrounding sexual violence on campus were built on “unfounded generalizations about women and girls, particularly their credibility regarding reported experiences of sexual harassment, including sexual violence.” The groups are calling for the Trump administration’s Title IX policy to be vacated.

The Education Department did not immediately respond to request for comment, but previously said it plans to enact new rules after a public comment period.
In September, DeVos’s move to scrap the Obama-era rules was cheered by advocates for accused students, who said that campus judicial proceedings were biased in favor of female accusers and that the accused students — mostly men — were unable to get a fair shake.

School District Pays Transgender Student $800000 After Banning Him From The Boys Bathroom

Source: http://www.newsweek.com/transgender-student-won-800000-his-school-banning-him-boys-bathroom-777443

A Wisconsin school district is paying a transgender student $800,000 as a settlement for a discrimination lawsuit he filed.

Ash Whitaker graduated from Tremper High School in June 2017, but he sued the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) in July 2016 for banning him from the boys’ bathroom with a threat of disciplinary action and subjecting him to daily surveillance.

The lawsuit ended in the settlement when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that KUSD illegally singled Whitaker out for discrimination because he is transgender. KUSD appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court but agreed to withdraw its appeal as a condition of the $800,000 settlement on Monday. The settlement still remains subject to court approval, according to the Transgender Law Center, and will be finalized this week.

“I am deeply relieved that this long, traumatic part of my life is finally over and I can focus on my future and simply being a college student,” Whitaker said in a press statement released by the Transgender Law Center, who represented him in the case.

In the case, Whitaker said that KUSD proposed that all transgender students wear bright green labels to monitor their restroom use, refused to use his chosen name and isolated him from his peers on overnight school trips. Whitaker, who was in the top 5 percent of his class, worried that the distraction of the discrimination could hurt his chances of attending college.

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