Photo of Jackie Gharapour Wernz

Attorney representing educational institutions in a wide range of education and employment law matters.

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

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,

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

Almost one-and-a-half years after releasing its proposed rule, the U.S. Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations on May 6, 2020. Because the 2020 Title IX regulations become effective on August 14, 2020, educational institutions must move quickly to come into compliance during what are already particularly trying times. To assist your institution with

Come join us to unwind Title IX while also unwinding with colleagues and friends!

We know the challenges facing administrators responsible for Title IX compliance at the K-12 level, with the August 14 effective date for the new Title IX rules looming. We also know that collaboration with other K-12 Title IX administrators, though indispensable,

REGISTER HERE!
July 21, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. CT

In this session of Ankura’s monthly Title IX and Civil Rights Investigations webinar series, Dan Schorr and Alyssa-Rae McGinn will be joined by Franczek P.C. partner Jackie Gharapour Wernz for a discussion of the important issues related to complainant and respondent advisors in