It has been over two months since the 2020 Title IX regulations setting forth a new procedure for addressing school-based Title IX sexual harassment complaints went into effect. The new rules require, among many other things, that all members of what we here at Franczek P.C. call the “Title IX Team” receive training. Our attorneys are leaders in helping schools and their attorneys learn the new law, both through free resources and a comprehensive training package that allows training of the entire Title IX Team–a feat that cannot be achieved through free resources alone. This blog includes a refresher on what training is required, who needs Title IX training, what to look for in a training provider, and a comprehensive list of the free resources your school, college, or university can use to help meet the compliance requirements of the new Title IX. Continue Reading The Best Things in Life: Free Title IX Training Resources for Rules Compliance

The new Title IX regulations are now in effect and require school districts to train separate administrators to perform the roles of Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, Decision-Makers (initial and appellate), and informal resolution facilitators. Franczek P.C.’s training package allows compliance for the entire Title IX Team of a school or district for one low flat fee. Contact us at TitleIX@Franczek.com for more information on our competitive training and other Title IX compliance packages.

However, we understand the hardship that the Title IX requirements place on schools and districts during this time. We recognize that many school districts and schools will not train their entire Title IX Teams soon. Accordingly, we are offering the following general sessions for individual members of the Title IX Team on Friday, October 30, 2020:

If October 30 is not convenient for your team, contact TitleIX@Franczek.com. We have broad flexibility to offer make-up sessions that fit your schedule.

Information on each session, pricing for individual sessions, and registration links are below. Discounts are available for larger groups; contact us at TitleIX@Franczek.com for more information on group rates. Continue Reading Title IX Basic and Role Training for K-12 Administrators – October 30, 2020

On October 7, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a blog post clarifying the definitions of “sexual assault,” “dating violence,” “domestic violence,” and “stalking” under Title IX. Your educational institution should review its policies and procedures to include this important information. Any revisions should be posted on your institution’s website along with other procedures. For K-12 institutions that use the Illinois Association of School Board’s PRESS policies, our team has revised PRESS 2:265 Exhibit 1 (E1) to address these important changes. Contact TitleIX@Franczek.com or your Franczek attorney to obtain a copy of the revised procedure.

Continue Reading OCR Clarifies VAWA “Big Five” Definitions Under Title IX, Warranting Revised Procedures

clockOn September 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released new technical assistance for elementary and secondary schools concerning COVID-19. The document, Questions and Answers for K-12 Public Schools in the Current COVID-19 Environment, provides OCR’s perspective on schools’ obligations under civil rights laws as schools continue to decide how to provide educational services during the pandemic. Notably for our purposes, OCR addresses how schools should handle Title IX complaints during the COVID-19 crisis. Notably, the Q&A indicates that OCR will defer to educational institutions as to whether there is a good reason to delay Title IX processes because of COVID-19. Such delays should only be temporary and should balance the interests of promptness, fairness to the parties, and accuracy of adjudications.
Continue Reading OCR Q&A Addresses Title IX, K-12 Schools, and COVID-19

A local news source from New Haven, Connecticut, reported that the New Haven Public Schools and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights have reached a tentative agreement on their current transgender athlete dispute. The deal reportedly will allow transgender athletes to continue to play on athletics teams that coincide with their gender identities without losing federal funding. As discussed in an earlier blog post, OCR issued a letter in late August threatening to take away funds from a handful of Connecticut school districts and the Connecticut athletic association if transgender female students continue competing with cisgender female athletes. Subsequently, the Department of Education threatened to cut certain grant funds for magnet schools expected by numerous Connecticut schools in October. In response, the Board of Education in New Haven threatened legal action if the Department cut the grant funds. Although we will have to wait to understand the terms of any agreement, this turn of events on this issue is undoubtedly noteworthy and one we will continue to watch.

Update: Reports claim that the agreement was based on an assurance that the Connecticut school districts will not use MSAP funds toward interscholastic sports and will comply with the outcome of any court case concerning the application of Title IX to interscholastic athletic participation by transgender high school students. School districts that receive MSAP funds should take notice of this agreement. Contact us for more information.

Well, we’ve made it almost six weeks since the new Title IX Sexual Harassment regulations went into effect. And I’m happy to see that so many of our clients and friends are making good progress with revising and approving policies and completing mandated training. You may be wondering what should be next on your checklist. My recommendation: Spruce up your administrative procedures or regulations. You need to be ready to answer a question from OCR or a court about where they can find your detailed process for investigating and adjudicating Title IX Sexual Harassment complaints. For many institutions, the answer will not be the formal Title IX Sexual Harassment policy. If you do not have an administrative procedure in place, contact us for assistance. Keep reading to learn more about this requirement and what the procedures should include. Continue Reading Critical Elements for a Compliant Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedure

On September 8, 2020, an Education Dive article quoted me about two recent letters from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on the impact on Title IX of this year’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on sexual orientation discrimination in employment. OCR’s position: Title IX, like Title VII, now protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. But that does not mean that schools can grant transgender students equal access to sex-segregated facilities or sports teams, says OCR. Media reports suggest the Department’s stated approaches are “totally at odds”–but are they? Here is a summary of the letters and why they seem pretty consistent, after all. Continue Reading Is OCR’s New Approach to Trans Rights in Schools Really Inconsistent? Here’s Why It’s Not

We’ve had a lot going on.

COVID-19. School reopening. Racial equity issues. And the cherry on top? Those Title IX Sexual Harassment regulations that we’ve been digging out from under since May 6.

With all that going on, I’d forgive you for feeling a bit like one of my favorite characters from Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, wondering, “What did I miss??”

And it turns out the answer in the world of Title IX is: “A lot!” The Department of Education has continued down its path of making significant changes to the Title IX landscape, including several issues unrelated to sexual harassment. Whether you’re a K-12 or higher education administrator, you need to come up to speed on these changes and the resulting impacts they should have on practices in the new school year.

Our team is offering a complimentary webinar to help you do just that. Join us (Jackie Gharapour Wernz and Emily Tulloch) to discuss all of the hot Title IX issues you may have missed but can’t ignore, including:

  • The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) ’s rescission of Title IX guidance documents, including the 2001 Sexual Harassment Guidance and the 2015 resources for Title IX Coordinators,
  • OCR’s publication of letters addressing the rights of LGBTQ students under Title IX in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing rights for LGBTQ employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and
  • OCR’s recent update to its Case Processing Manual (the CPM).

The latter portion of the webinar will also include time for your Title IX questions, including those relating to Title IX sexual harassment.

Today is the day. After almost two years of thinking about whether the proposed Title IX regulations would go into effect at all, starting today we are operating under the new rules at schools, colleges, and universities across the country. In addition to preparing for an unprecedented school year opening, we know you’re also on top of all the training and policy revisions needed for compliance. (You are, right? If not, find more information here.) But don’t forget the requirement to update your website with certain information, including your nondiscrimination statement, Title IX Coordinator information, training materials used to train your Title IX Team, and a provisional grievance procedure if your policies are not yet finalized, by today. In our experience, most higher education institutions already have extensive Title IX presences on their websites, so you may just need to make a few adjustments. But this requirement is just the kind that might slip under the radar for many K-12 schools. Our team at Franczek P.C. has put together website and procedural language to help schools easily comply. Reach out to us at titleIX@franczek.com for more information. The following are the requirements from the regulations as to what an institution must post on its websites by tomorrow to be in compliance.

Continue Reading We’ve Got You Covered: Website and Grievance Procedure Updates Required Today for Title IX Compliance

As we explained in an earlier blog post, one of the requirements of the new Title IX regulations–the mandate to post all materials used to train Title IX personnel on a school’s website–has understandably raised questions for K-12 and higher education institutions regarding copyright compliance. Today, I was thrilled to host Ashly Boesche, a Partner at the Chicago intellectual property boutique powerhouse Pattishall McAuliffe. Drawing on her expertise in the area of copyright law, Ashly shed some light on this question. The video is available below, and the audio will also be published through our Education Law Insights podcast, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.