Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Parents: You Can Become the Agent of Change for Title IX Policies in Your Schools - #MeTooK12 #MeToo #TimesUp

#MeTooK12 Campaign | Stop Sexual Assault in Schools:

Parents: You Can Become the Agent of Change for Title IX Policies in Your Schools

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by Susan Moen, Executive Director, Jackson County (OR) SART
Most parents are not aware of deficiencies in their schools’ response protocols for sexual harassment and assault–until their own child (or a friend’s) experiences the life-altering harm that can result.  Parents are forced to become activists when their own family is impacted, or they are driven to action by heartbreaking stories and pleas of “don’t let this happen to another student.”  Spurring a community to action too often means having to share details of an incident of harassment or violence after it has occurred.
While personal stories are powerful tools for bringing change, wouldn’t it be wonderful for our parent communities to be able to bring the needed change to their schools before that next story unfolds?  We would like to encourage parents to proactively learn what their schools are doing with regard to Title IX protections; and if improvements need to be made, do so before having to react to a problem that comes to light. Here are some places to start:
  • Every school should have a sexual harassment and a teen dating violence policy that defines what this behavior is and how to report–finding this is the place to start. These policies are usually the responsibility of the School Board and based on state policies. They should be easy to find on a school’s website.
  • A school’s Title IX plan should also be easily accessible on its website. This plan should provide clear descriptions of student rights and the school’s responsibilities to ensure that all students have access to an education free from fear of, or actual, violence and harassment. Title IX addresses both individual incidents and “hostile environments” that impact a student’s ability to learn. The plan should clearly explain how and when Title IX reports are made, how they are investigated, how violations are addressed, and what rights and resources are available to the parties involved in a Title IX investigation.
  • After identifying the school’s policies and Title IX plan (or lack thereof), parents can educate themselves on what is required by Title IX, to see if the existing plan adequately addresses everything required by the law and recommended by Title IX experts. Sites such as Know Your IXSSAIS.org , and the National Women’s Law Center offer helpful information,  and you can access the Title IX guidance documents directly on the U.S Department of Education website where documents explain in detail a school’s responsibility to respond to sexual harassment and assault.
  • Find a local expert on Title IX who can help with your research. For example, if you have a college nearby, their Title IX office may have staff willing to help you; a local rape crisis center may also have advocate Parents continue reading at  #MeTooK12 Campaign | Stop Sexual Assault in Schools:
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