AP: Sex assaults in high school sports minimized as ‘hazing’

The Georgia school district said it was investigating the baseball players for “misbehavior” and “inappropriate physical contact.” What it didn’t reveal was that a younger teammate had reported being sexually assaulted.

Even after players were later disciplined for sexual battery, the district cited student confidentiality to withhold details from the public and used “hazing” to describe the incident, which it also failed to report to the state as required.

Across the U.S., perhaps nowhere is student-on-student sexual assault as dismissed or as camouflaged as in boys’ sports, an Associated Press investigation found. Mischaracterized as hazing and bullying, the violence is so normalized on some teams that it persists for years, as players attacked one season become aggressors the next.

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The Sexism of School Dress Codes

Source: The Atlantic

These policies can perpetuate discrimination against female students, as well as LGBT students.

Maggie Sunseri was a middle-school student in Versailles, Kentucky, when she first noticed a major difference in the way her school’s dress code treated males and females. Girls were disciplined disproportionately, she says, a trend she’s seen continue over the years. At first Sunseri simply found this disparity unfair, but upon realizing administrators’ troubling rationale behind the dress code—that certain articles of girls’ attire should be prohibited because they “distract” boys—she decided to take action.

“I’ve never seen a boy called out for his attire even though they also break the rules,” says Sunseri, who last summer produced Shame: A Documentary on School Dress Code, a film featuring interviews with dozens of her classmates and her school principal, that explores the negative impact biased rules can have on girls’ confidence and sense of self. The documentary now has tens of thousands of YouTube views, while a post about the dress-code policy at her high school—Woodford County High—has been circulated more than 45,000 times on the Internet.

Although dress codes have long been a subject of contention, the growth of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, along with a resurgence of student activism, has prompted a major uptick in protests against attire rules, including popular campaigns similar to the one championed by Sunseri. Conflict over these policies has also spawned hundreds of Change.org petitions and numerous school walkouts. Many of these protests have criticized the dress codes as sexist in that they unfairly target girls by body-shaming and blaming them for promoting sexual harassment. Documented cases show female students being chastised by school officials, sent home, or barred from attending events like prom.

Meanwhile, gender non-conforming and transgender students have also clashed with such policies on the grounds that they rigidly dictate how kids express their identities. Transgender students have been sent home for wearing clothing different than what’s expected of their legal sex, while others have been excluded from yearbooks. Male students, using traditionally female accessories that fell within the bounds of standard dress code rules, and vice versa, have been nonetheless disciplined for their fashion choices. These cases are prompting their own backlash.

Dress codes—given the power they entrust school authorities to regulate student identity—can, according to students, ultimately establish discriminatory standards as the norm. The prevalence and convergence of today’s protests suggest that schools not only need to update their policies—they also have to recognize and address the latent biases that go into creating them.

* * *

At Woodford County High, the dress code bans skirts and shorts that fall higher than the knee and shirts that extend below the collarbone. Recently, a photo of a female student at the school who was sent home after wearing a seemingly appropriate outfit that nonetheless showed collarbone—went viral on Reddit and Twitter.
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US Religious Colleges Test Anti-Discrimination Law

But Title IX does include a special exemption for religious schools. Any school run by a religious organization can ask to ignore Title IX. Theschools can make this request if they believe Title IX disagrees with theirreligious beliefs.

For example, some schools that train men to be members of the clergy ask to deny access to women. Some religions prevent women from training to be clergy members.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is part of the U.S. Department ofEducation. The OCR enforces Tile IX. The OCR also processes the exemption requests. Seth Galanter is the Deputy Assistant Secretary forCivil Rights at the OCR.

Galanter said schools have always had the right to make this type of request: 227 schools have received exemption from some part of Title IX since 1972.


read the full article.


Guidance Issued on How Schools Can Partner with Outside Organizations that Provide Single-Sex Programs under Title IX

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office   

400 Maryland Ave., S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20202                 



Dec. 15, 2015


Contact: Press Office

(202) 401-1576 or press@ed.gov



Guidance Issued on How Schools Can Partner with Outside Organizations that Provide Single-Sex Programs under Title IX


The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights today released guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letterdetailing schools’ responsibilities under Title IX when partnering with certain outside organizations that provide single-sex programs to a school district’s students. The letter explains the circumstances under which a school district may work lawfully with “voluntary youth service organizations” under Title IX.


“We know that outside organizations can be great resources for school districts trying to improve the quality and diversity of the educational opportunities they offer,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. “We hope this guidance provides schools with additional clarity on how to comply with Title IX’s requirement to provide equitable opportunities for students regardless of their sex, including, where the law allows it, while working with organizations that serve students of only one sex.”


Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. The law generally bars school districts both from excluding students from educational opportunities based on their sex and from providing significant assistance to outside organizations that do so, but it allows schools to work with certain outside organizations that limit membership by sex.


The new guidance reminds schools that Title IX prohibits school districts from providing significant assistance – such as financial support, staff, equipment, and facilities – to any outside organization that discriminates on the basis of sex, unless Title IX excepts the organization from its reach.


The letter explains that Title IX does not apply to the membership practices of voluntary youth service organizations even when they receive significant assistance from a school district.


In order for an organization to qualify for this exemption, its membership must be voluntary, traditionally limited to members of one sex, and principally limited to persons under age 19. The organization also must facilitate public service opportunities for its members.


Finally, the letter clarifies that, even though Title IX allows a school to provide significant assistance to a voluntary youth service organization, the district still has a Title IX obligation to ensure that girls and boys have comparable educational opportunities overall.


OCR’s mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights. The office is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001. For more about the office, click here.


More information about Title IX and other OCR guidance documents on Title IX issues can be found here.




Senator Richard Blumenthal on his support of Title IX provisions in S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act.

The Senate resumed debate on S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act. It would change the 2001 No Child Left Behind Law by giving more authority to states and local school districts.


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