Friday, November 02, 2012

Journalists Expose Lack of Title IX Compliance in Bay Area Schools

A team of investigative reporters from the Bay Area NBC News affiliate reported this week that few area schools comply with Title IX's requirement that districts appoint a Title IX Coordinator to oversee compliance and receive and handle complaints about discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex.  It is one of the law's most simple and straightforward requirements, yet, school officials seem almost intent on ignoring it, as the results of the journalists' investigation reveal.   The news team sent this email to over 200 principals in California's Bay Area:

Most of the principals did not even respond.  And most of those who did had no idea.  
Here are some of the responses:
"We don't have a title ix coordinator"
"I think that would be me….???"
"I’m not sure who you would need to talk to."
"I have no idea who it is. Try labor relations they should know."
"i have no idea what title nine is, sorry."
"I need to know who I am talking to before I send that information."

In a follow up meeting with a spokesperson for one of the districts, the San Francisco Unified School District, the reporters found out the name and position of the district's Title IX Coordinator, but confirmed that her name and contact information does not appear in writing in any place accessible to someone with a grievance, as the law requires. 

A national nonprofit, Equal Rights Advocates, followed up on the news team's report by adding pressure on school districts to comply.  ERA sent 100 schools a request for confirmation that they have a Title IX Coordinator, and that the person as well as the procedures for filing harassment and discrimination complaints are published and available to the public.  I suspect that they plan to use any non-response as the basis of a complaint to the Department of Education.