The new school year is upon us! It’s important to consider how to get your staff “Title IX” ready for the upcoming school year. Follow these four simple steps for readiness:
First, identify the school’s Title IX coordinator. We have received many calls from schools who have not identified a Title IX coordinator or who have identified a Title IX coordinator, but the employee does not know that they have been named as such. Title IX regulations require that schools receiving federal funds designate and authorize at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title IX responsibilities. 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(a). This employee must be referred to as the Title IX Coordinator. Id. Schools must notify applicants for admission and employment, students and all unions or professional organization holding collective bargaining professional agreements with the school of the name or title, office address, electronic mail address, and telephone number of the employee or employees designated as the Title IX Coordinator. Id. The school must prominently display contact information for the Title IX Coordinator on its website, if any, and in each handbook or catalog that it makes available to persons entitled to notification per the regulations. 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(b)(2)(i).
Second, provide onboarding training to all employees about Title IX. Help your staff understand your school’s Title IX complaint and grievance process by providing training during onboarding for the new school year. Topics for staff training on Title IX might include inviting the Title IX coordinator to present on the roles and responsibilities of that position, teaching about the definition of sexual harassment, and identifying situations that might constitute sexual harassment under the Title IX policy. Schools have an opportunity to create common understanding of applicable regulations through onboard training and yearly updates to employees.
Third, host a school-wide event to create understanding about appropriate physical boundaries, treating other students with respect, and how to identify issues on campus that students should report. This school-wide event might also talk about bystander intervention and the school’s process for reporting problems.
Fourth, the Title IX coordinator should review the school’s Title IX policies and procedures as well as accompanying documents, such as the Notice of Investigation, for areas of improvement. The Title IX coordinator should become familiar with the school’s grievance process and understand whether the Title IX policy should be updated for the school’s available resources and needs. For example, the Title IX coordinator might want to update the definitions to reflect better descriptions of the terms.