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Title IX — April 24, 2015 USDOE Office for Civil Rights Dear Colleague Letter
Apr 29th, 2015 by

On Friday, April 24, 2015 the USDOE Office for Civil Rights released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) to school districts, colleges, and universities reminding them of their obligation to designate a Title IX coordinator. The Dear Colleague Letter is accompanied by a letter to Title IX coordinators that provides them with more information about their role and a Title IX resource guide that includes an overview of Title IX’s requirements with respect to several key issues.  The link is http://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/guid/ocr/title-ix-coordinators.html

 

  • Dear Colleague Letter: Title IX Coordinators
  • Letter to Title IX Coordinators
  • Title IX Resource Guide

This is a very important set of emails. Please note these highlights from the DCL.

 

  • Your Title IX coordinator plays an essential role in helping you ensure that every person affected by the operations of your educational institution—including students, their parents or guardians, employees, and applicants for admission and employment—is aware of the legal rights Title IX affords and that your institution and its officials comply with their legal obligations under Title IX.
  • To be effective, a Title IX coordinator must have the full support of your institution. It is therefore critical that all institutions provide their Title IX coordinators with the appropriate authority and support necessary for them to carry out their duties and use their expertise to help their institutions comply with Title IX.
  • In our enforcement work, OCR has found that some of the most egregious and harmful Title IX violations occur when a recipient fails to designate a Title IX coordinator or when a Title IX coordinator has not been sufficiently trained or given the appropriate level of authority to oversee the recipient’s compliance with Title IX. By contrast, OCR has found that an effective Title IX coordinator often helps a recipient provide equal educational opportunities to all students.
  • Title IX does not categorically exclude particular employees from serving as Title IX coordinators. However, when designating a Title IX coordinator, a recipient should be careful to avoid designating an employee whose other job responsibilities may create a conflict of interest. For example, designating a disciplinary board member, general counsel, dean of students, superintendent, principal, or athletics director as the Title IX coordinator may pose a conflict of interest.
  • Although not required by Title IX, it may be a good practice for some recipients, particularly larger school districts, colleges, and universities, to designate multiple Title IX coordinators. For example, some recipients have found that designating a Title IX coordinator for each building, school, or campus provides students and staff with more familiarity with the Title IX coordinator. This familiarity may result in more effective training of the school community on their rights and obligations under Title IX and improved reporting of incidents under Title IX.
  • The Title IX coordinator is responsible for coordinating the recipient’s responses to all complaints involving possible sex discrimination.
  • Title IX makes it unlawful to retaliate against individuals—including Title IX coordinators—not just when they file a complaint alleging a violation of Title IX, but also when they participate in a Title IX investigation, hearing, or proceeding, or advocate for others’ Title IX rights.6 Title IX’s broad anti-retaliation provision protects Title IX coordinators from discrimination, intimidation, threats, and coercion for the purpose of interfering with the performance of their job responsibilities. A recipient, therefore, must not interfere with the Title IX coordinator’s participation in complaint investigations and monitoring of the recipient’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX. Rather, a recipient should encourage its Title IX coordinator to help it comply with Title IX and promote gender equity in education.
  • Recipients must ensure that their Title IX coordinators are appropriately trained and possess comprehensive knowledge in all areas over which they have responsibility in order to effectively carry out those responsibilities, including the recipients’ policies and procedures on sex discrimination and all complaints raising Title IX issues throughout the institution.
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Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents
Jan 22nd, 2015 by

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) released joint guidance reminding states, school districts and schools of their obligations under federal law to ensure that English learner students have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential.  The guidance, fact sheets, and other resources (including translated versions of the guidance and fact sheets) are available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/ellresources.html.

 

Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents

The obligation not to discriminate based on race, color, or national origin requires public schools to take affirmative steps to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) students, now more commonly known as known as English Learner (EL) students or English Language Learners (ELLs), can meaningfully participate in educational programs and services, and to communicate information to LEP parents in a language they can understand.

The following materials include information for students and parents, OCR guidance and resources for education officials about their obligations to EL students and LEP parents, and added resources with related information.

For Students and Parents

For Education Officials

OCR Policies

Self-Evaluation Materials

Enforcement Activities

Related Resources

U.S. Department of Education Resources

U.S. Department of Education Funded Resources and Partnerships

Other Resources

 

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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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Transgender Youth Protected by Title IX
Jun 3rd, 2014 by

Transgender Youth Protected by Title IX  – Updated Title IX guidance released by the U.S. Department of Education clarifies that the civil rights law’s protection extends to all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/qa-201404-title-ix.pdf

 

 

“Does Title IX protect all students from sexual violence?

Answer: Yes. Title IX protects all students at recipient institutions from sex discrimination,

including sexual violence. Any student can experience sexual violence: from elementary to

professional school students; male and female students; straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual

and transgender students; part-time and full-time students; students with and without

disabilities; and students of different races and national origins.”

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OCR Releases Policy Guidance on Retaliation
Apr 24th, 2013 by

Dear Stakeholder:

Today, the Office for Civil Rights has released guidance to remind school districts, postsecondary institutions, and other Federal funding recipients of the legal prohibition against retaliation with regard to civil rights complaints and to describe OCR’s methods of enforcement. The DCL does not contain any new policy or new interpretations of law and is supported by well-established caselaw. However, OCR has never before issued any public guidance describing its enforcement of recipients’ non-retaliation obligations.  We chose to do so here because we feel that this is an important area for clear concise guidance as nearly one fifth of all complaints received by OCR raise retaliation allegations.

 

Please take a moment to read this important guidance at:

·         http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201304.html

·         http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201304.pdf

 

As always, if you have any questions, requests for technical assistance, or outreach opportunities where OCR can play a role please contact one of our regional offices.  You can always find our list of offices and the regions they support at https://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm.

 

Remember to follow the Office for Civil Rights on twitter @EDcivilrights.

 

Thank you.

 

Office for Civil Rights

 

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