What is my recourse if my school has violated my Title IX rights?
If you believe your school has violated your rights under Title IX, it is important to understand that you do not have to remain silent. The law exists to protect you and you are empowered to come forward with any issues you have noticed and are protected from retaliation for doing so. To find out more about Title IX and what your recourse is if your rights have been violated, keep reading.
What is Title IX?
First things first, Title IX refers to 20 U.S.C. Section 1681(a), a section of law that says: “ No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
So what does this mean exactly? It means that Title IX exists to prohibit sex-based discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding.
Who is covered by Title IX?
You may be wondering how such a seemingly short bit of statutory language could prove to be so important and serve as the basis for filing so many cases against offending schools. The reason is that while Title IX is a short statute, it has been interpreted quite broadly by courts and administrative agencies, giving it a broad application to many areas of educational life.
Title IX has been found to protect women and men, girls and boys, staff members and students, pregnant individuals and parents in a range of educational institutions including K-12 schools, technical institutions, colleges and universities and even things like libraries and museums.
Is Title IX only about sports?
Though Title IX is often seen as relating to equality in sports, the reality is that Title IX requires gender equality in every possible aspect of education, whether that’s sports, academics or admissions. It also is involved in protecting individuals from sexual harassment and sexual violence
What penalties do schools face for Title IX violations?
In the worst possible case scenario, a school found to be non-compliant with Title IX can lose all federal funding. In reality, this kind of extreme punishment has not been doled out. Instead, what often happens is that schools are required to pay substantial damages as well as attorney’s fees when Title IX cases are brought in court.
What can you do if you believe there has been a violation?
If you believe there has been a violation of Title IX at your school it is important to understand that you have the right to raise the issue of possible sex-based discrimination. Beyond raising the issue internally with school administrators or Title IX coordinators, individuals are also able to go directly to the U.S. Department of Education, which accepts Title IX complaints filed with the Office of Civil Rights.
Can you file a civil suit regarding Title IX?
Absolutely. Part of the Title IX law allows individuals who have been harmed as a result of Title IX non-compliance to bring civil suits directly against the offending educational institution in an attempt to collect monetary damages as well as request an injunction to end the discriminatory behaviors.