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Guidelines to Ensure Title IX Compliance

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that was enacted in 1972 to prevent gender-based discrimination in educational programs that receive federal financial aid.  Schools are subjected to this law and need to ensure that all school activities and programs are compliant. However, many schools are unaware of the law and the need to implement compliance policies in their schools. Schools can incur litigation costs averaging thousands of dollars if they violated the law. It is important for schools to create policies and practices to ensure compliance to avoid unnecessary litigation costs.

Educators need to know that Title IX requires that they provide equal opportunities to all students who engage in school-related activities, including online and school-based electronic learning environments.

Policies and Guidelines for Educators

All schools should strive to prevent discrimination in any school-related activity. School administrators and principals can also prepare their schools by implementing the following practices:

  • Appoint a Title IX Coordinator. Appointing a member of the staff as the Title IX coordinator in the school is a good practice. One staff member is designated and responsible for understanding and being apprised of the law. It is important to appoint someone who is fair, balanced, and unbiased.

This individual can ensure that all other staff members are also educated in the law. They can arrange regular training sessions, invite speakers to educate staff, and check in on all school-sponsored activities to make sure they are compliant. This person can also guide others in best practices and assist parents in their complaints.

  • Continually Educate Staff on the Law. Since there is a lack of awareness of the law, schools should make it a practice to hold workshops and educational sessions on the law periodically. This law can have broad effects as gender discrimination can include gender identification, sexual identification, sexual orientation, binary gender, bullying, and harassment. Because the law can influence a broad range of behavior, periodic training sessions should prevent inadvertent acts that may be discriminatory.
  • School culture. Schools should instill a culture and environment that respects gender equality. They should also create awareness amongst all stakeholders in the community, and strive to diminish them.
  • Schools should have a clear procedure for notifications of complaints and how to address them. Schools should also respond to complaints and make investigations of the claims immediately.

Guidance for Parents

Parents who believe that their child was subjected to discrimination based on gender should notify their school administration. Parents can start by requesting that the school identify their Title IX coordinator. They can also review school policies or request the handbook to ascertain school policies with regard to discrimination. If the school does not respond adequately, parents should reach out to the school district or superintendent. If no one responds, parents can notify the public through media outlets and or file a formal complaint.

The education lawyers at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser are experienced in all aspects of law related to schools and educational institutions. Our counsel has vast experience from advising schools on policies and practices to effective representation in litigation. For legal representation on education-related matters, please contact us online or call us at 484-318-7106. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Chester County and Philadelphia.