Know Your Rights

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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.

Victim Rights Law Center

How Do I Talk About the Violence I Experienced: A Guide for K-12 Students and their Caretakers

Equal Rights Advocates

Know Your Rights at School: Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination

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.”

US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

How to File a Discrimination Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights Explains the steps for filing a Title IX complaint with OCR.

Questions and Answers on the Title IX Regulations on Sexual Harassment (July 2021) (PDF) Describes OCR’s interpretation of schools’ responsibilities under Title IX, and the Department’s current implementing regulations related to sexual harassment, as enforced by OCR. The focus here is on questions related to the most recent amendments to the regulations in 2020.

Summary of Major Provisions of the Department of Education’s Title IX Final Rule Summary of the new Title IX regulations released by OCR in May, 2020.

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. Read a report on sexual violence in K-12 schools prepared by the U.S. Department of Education using CRDC data collected in 2017–18.

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

Know Your Rights: Title IX Requires Your School to Address Sexual Violence Explains your Title IX rights. 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) Note: OCR rescinded this guidance.

Dear Colleague Letter (2006) Note: OCR rescinded this guidance.

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

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.

100 School Districts Student Toolkit: How to Change Your School District’s Sexual Harassment Policies (PDF)
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)

U.S. Government Department of Justice

Resources from the 1 is 2 Many website

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 Center on Safe Supportive Learning 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…