New Title IX Enforcement Initiative for K-12 Public Schools

In February, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new Title IX enforcement initiative, led by the Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The objective of this new initiative is to fight the rise of sexual assault in K-12 public schools.

Title IX requires that schools and districts take appropriate steps to address sexual discrimination. The requirements of Title IX apply to incidents of sexual misconduct, including incidents that involve both student-on-student misconduct and staff-on-student misconduct. According to data from the OCR, the number of K-12 sexual harassment and violence complaints is nearly 15 times higher than it was 10 years ago, with 9,700 incidents of sexual assault, rape, or attempted rape reported in public elementary and secondary schools in the 2015-2016 school year.

The new Title IX enforcement initiative will include the following activities: 

  • Compliance Reviews – OCR will conduct nationwide compliance reviews to examine how sexual assault cases are handled in schools and districts.
  • Public Awareness and Support – OCR will focus on increasing the awareness of sexual assault in K-12 schools among educators, school leaders, parents, and families.
  • Data Quality Reviews – OCR will partner with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and will work with districts to ensure that incidents of sexual assault/sexual offenses are being accurately recorded and reported.
  • Proposed Civil Rights Data Collection – OCR has proposed to more universally collect more detailed data on sexual assault.

While there are still questions regarding how proposed Title IX regulation changes will impact K-12 schools, it is clear from the new enforcement initiative, that K-12 school districts and schools should review their existing policies and procedures regarding how to address, resolve, and report sexual assault incidents at their schools. In a recent article published in District Administration, Brett Sokolow, president of the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), suggested that, “Schools and districts need to form committees, task forces and Title IX teams now, so that administrators can study the regulations and commentary when they are published and change what needs to be changed.” 

How SafeSchools Can Help

The SafeSchools Online Training System includes a variety of courses to help schools increase the awareness and understanding of issues related to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault for both staff and students, including: 

Staff Courses

Student Courses

SafeSchools Alert Tip Reporting System

With our SafeSchools Alert Tip Reporting System, students, staff, and parents can confidentially report safety concerns, including harassment, intimidation, bullying, mental health concerns, weapons, and threats of violence to your administration via mobile app, web, email, text, or phone.

For more information on how our Staff or Student Training or Tip Reporting System can help you address sexual harassment and assault in your district, contact us at 1-800-434-0154 or info@safeschools.com.