Title IX of the Education Amendments

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

While the law is best known for its impact on high school and college sports, Title IX applies to many areas of education and to all schools (elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and trade or professional schools) and educational programs that receive federal funding. For example, under Title IX students many not be excluded from any activity, or treated adversely based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, parenthood, or marital status. Within Title IX, athletics compliance is just one of many key areas the law covers. Others include: Access to Education, Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students, Employment, Learning Environment, STEM (Science, Technology, Math and Science) Environments, Student and Faculty Recruitment and Retention Efforts, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, School and Workplace Bullying, Standardized Testing, and Student and Faculty Conduct and Discipline.

Though brief in verse, the law is broad in scope. Title IX is considered by many as a living law. Since being passed, it has been the subject of more than 20 proposed amendments, reviews, Supreme Court cases, and other political actions. The Department of Education is the federal office that oversees Title IX enforcement. It regularly issues and reviews guidance on the scope, meaning, and application of Title IX.

Title IX is a law that protects against sex-based and gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, violence, dating and domestic violence, stalking, and bullying and harassment based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Federally funded schools must have established policies and procedures for handling complaints from their students, faculty, staff, and visitors. As part of the procedures, the schools should ensure those reporting Title IX violations are able to continue with their education and employment. Ensuring continued access to education and reducing a hostile environment may mean schools prohibit contact between parties, make changes to living and working situations, and make adjustments to academic or work schedules. Schools may not retaliate against a person who files a complaint and must work to help keep the complainant safe from other retaliatory harassment or behavior while also ensuring anyone accused of possible misconduct is treated fairly and with respect.

Schools that fail to provide appropriate prevention effort and responses for Title IX violations risk losing their federal funding. A landmark law, Title IX provides an additional, unique framework for addressing sex and gender-based discrimination in educational environments and is an important tool for encouraging equity and inclusion. Although there is only one Title IX, each school applies the law differently and has different policies and procedures for preventing, investigating, and otherwise addressing possible Title IX violations. Some balance the many competing interests such as safety, promptness, fairness, confidentiality, transparency accountability, and education better than others.

For more information on Title IX and how it applies to your situation, please call HopkinsWay law firm in Denver at (720) 262-5545 or in Phoenix at (602) 714-7172.

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