#HandsOffIX is the social media hashtag created to oppose the U.S. Department of Education’s amendments to the Title IX regulations. These changes dangerously impact both college and K-12 students. Public opposition from organizations, attorneys general, lawmakers, organizations, school superintendents, principals, psychologists, survivors, and individuals is substantial. Over 124,000 comments were submitted to the regulations.gov website.
On May 6, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department published the Final Rule, leaving scant time to review and implement regulations before it goes into effect August 14, 2020.
SSAIS Role in Opposing the Regulations
SSAIS contributed to the effort opposing the regulations by educating the public about their impact on K-12 students. Our work appeared in Ms. Magazine Blog, Education Post, Bustle, and Seattle’s Child.
SSAIS also encouraged the public to submit comments on the proposed regulations during the 60-day notice and comment period. Read our comment here.
On December 4, 2019, SSAIS presented our concerns about the proposed new regulations to representatives of the Office of Management and Budget Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and the Department of Education.
On May 14, 2020, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of SSAIS and three other nonprofit organizations. The lawsuit asks a federal court to block parts of the new Title IX rule that limit K-12 and post-secondary schools’ responsibilities to address sexual harassment and assault. Read the SSAIS press release.
Revisit this page for the latest developments.
How the new regulations would negatively affect K-12 students
SSAIS argued that the new regulations would:
- Narrow the definition of sexual harassment so that students would have to endure escalating incidents of harassment before the school will respond.
- Permit schools to ignore cyber sexual harassment or sexual harassment that occurs off-campus.
- Allow schools to delay their Title IX investigations indefinitely.
- Place more obstacles in the path of student survivors who want their schools to protect their rights to an education free from sexual harassment.
- Allow a school to ignore a complaint of sexual harassment unless a someone notifies a school official who is authorized to take “corrective measures” (this provision was struck from the final rule).
- Require student survivors of ongoing sexual harassment or sexual assault to make a formal complaint before the school could take Title IX action and offer supportive measures.
For a detailed explanation of the detrimental effects of the new rule, read DeVos’s New Title IX Sexual Harassment Rule, Explained by the National Women’s Law Center.
Watch these students urge action: