Know Your Rights

See also Quick FAQs   Legal FAQs   Filing Complaints

Most K-12 schools, parents, and students are not aware of how Title IX relates to sexual harassment/assault in schools. For example, many wonder why schools should investigate student sexual assaults at all and not simply leave the matter to the police.

“Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! is a free video+action plan for K-12 students and families.

Title IX is a civil rights law. It prohibits all educational institutions that receive federal money from discriminating against students on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment/assault is a form of discrimination because it can limit or prevent a student from participating in and benefiting from a school’s educational program.

These resources explain what Title IX is, students’ rights, and schools’ responsibilities under Title IX. Many of these resources are for the college level, but they are also relevant to K-12 schools. Not all resources offer the same advice and information.

National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education

Title IX at 45: Advancing Opportunity through Equity in Education

“Knowledge is essential for countering this form of discrimination. Students need to know their rights, and schools need to know their responsibilities under the law. All stakeholders, including the public, need to be aware of the extent of the problem, its effects, and the protections put in place to help address it.”

National Women’s Law Center

Resources on Title IX for students, parents, and educators, including FAQs related to cyberbullying, LGBT and gender non-conforming students, and pregnancy.
Sexual Harassment & Assault
The Next Generation of Title IX: Harassment and Bullying Based on Sex
FAQs for LGBT or Gender Nonconforming Students and Their Families
Cyberbullying and Sexual Harassment: FAQs About Cyberbullying and Title IX (PDF)

US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

ocr_logoKnow Your Rights: Title IX Requires Your School to Address Sexual Violence Explains your Title IX rights.

How to File a Discrimination Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights Explains the steps for filing a Title IX complaint with OCR. Note: OCR withdrew this guidance on 9/22/2017.

Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence Clarifies the legal requirements and obligations of schools under Title IX. Note: OCR withdrew this guidance on 9/22/2017.

Dear Colleague Letter (2011) Provides detailed guidelines for schools on how to respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence against students as required by Title IX. Note: OCR withdrew this guidance on 9/22/2017.

Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance (2001) is the current approved OCR guidance on sexual harassment.

Dear Colleague Letter (2006)

Not Alone: The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault

Know Your Rights summary Note: OCR withdrew this guidance on 9/22/2017.

Title IX Enforcement Highlights explains how OCR enforces Title IX in several areas of focus, including sexual violence, sexual and gender-based harassment, rights of expectant and student parents, equal support for educational curriculum regardless of gender, etc.

Title IX Reading Room contains a comprehensive list of OCR Title IX publications.

Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). Public school districts and elementary and secondary schools must submit data (including the number of reported incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence) to the biennial CRDC maintained by the Office for Civil Rights. Here is a list of CRDC Data Elements for School Year 2015–16.

U.S. Government Department of Justice

This website explains students’ rights under Title IX and how to file a complaint. The same website also has Title IX guidance for schools.
Not Alone: Together against Sexual Assault—Guidance for students

ACLU Women’s Rights Project

Gender-Based Violence & Harassment: Your School, Your Rights

Legal Momentum

Concise explanation of Title IX rights for students.
Know Your Rights about Sexual Violence and School
Legal Resource Kit: Sexual Harassment in the Schools

State Policies on Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing

The National Association of State Boards of Education has a database of state policies on bullying, harassment, and hazing.
Bullying, Harassment and Hazing Policies by State

Survivors of sexual harassment and assault may immediately call 1-800-656-HOPE to be connected to the nearest crisis or counseling center. See also resources here.

This website is intended to provide users with general information and resources that may be of interest. The information is provided as a public service and is not legal advice. Read more…

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