The main reason for having codified laws is to ensure the fair and just treatment of citizens during all kinds of circumstances. A significant part of our formative years is spent at educational institutions like schools and colleges. Most people are unaware that an important federal civil rights law protects people from all kinds of discrimination at organisations that receive funds from the federal government. This law is known as Title IX and it was introduced in 1972 as a part of the Education Amendments. Title IX protects school students from discrimination in all activities that are being carried out with federal assistance. However, many people feel that it is used only for resolving issues related to unfair treatment in campus sports. A Title IX attorney can represent students, faculty, and staff in a case related to the law. In this article, we are limiting our scope to students and talking about the ways in which this regulation protects their rights.
1. Equal Opportunities To All Genders In Sports
The most well-known application of the law is usually seen in matters related to discrimination in sports. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that comes under the Department of Education is the agency responsible for the enforcement of the law. It ensures that no gender-based discrimination of any kind is happening in a sporting activity on campus. Institutions have to prove that their programs are inclusive and include sufficient female participation. The female representation must be substantial relative to the total strength of a school. Moreover, the school also has to demonstrate that its present sporting programs are effectively accommodating the interests of the female students.
2. Protection Against All Forms Of Bullying
The federal law protects students from all forms of bullying that can occur at an educational institution. Hazing activities and any initiation rituals that can be defined as harassment fall under this important regulation. Even cyberbullying happening in schools is governed by the law and can be invoked by an aggrieved party to get justice. The law stipulates how an organization must develop a policy to counter hazing and all types of bullying. Schools are also required to have a system to deal with any incidents reported to their authorities.
3. Prohibition On Sexual Harassment And Sexual Violence In Campus
Title IX protects school students from sexual harassment and sexual violence. Both the issues are considered to be forms of gender discrimination and are completely prohibited at all educational institutions. It is the responsibility of the schools to protect their students from such acts. Forcing a student in a sexual relationship by threatening him/her with serious consequences is banned under the law. In case, such an incident occurs, then the organization must have a well-defined policy and structure in place to deal with the issue.
4. No Gender Discrimination In Any School Activity
The law directs that there should not be any gender-based discrimination in any kind of activity at an educational organization that receives federal funds. Schools have to ensure that all participants in curricular and extra-curricular programs are treated equally and fairly. Equal opportunities have to be provided in science, technology, engineering, and math courses. The same approach must be adopted in running other programs such as fine arts courses. Even all non-sporting activities like drama, orchestra, etc. must witness fair and equal participation.
5. Protecting LGBTQ Students’ Rights
Title IX does not secure the rights of students of all genders but it also bans any kind of unfair treatment based on their sexual orientation. LGBTQ students who are bullied or harassed because of their orientation can invoke the law to get justice. The law is clear that such students enjoy the same rights as any other member of the institution. It is the duty of the school to protect students from the LGBTQ community from any kind of harassment. They must implement a system to receive and deal with complaints of this nature.
6. Protection Against Whistleblower Retaliation
The law allows not only victims but any other individual who knows for a fact that a Title IX violation occurred to report such issues. It also protects such whistleblowers from retaliatory actions. People who feel that they suffered reprisals because they reported a violation can take actions for financial damages. Students, faculty, staff members as well as any third-party that reports such infringements can engage a Title IX law firm to claim damages if they receive unfair treatment.
7. Protecting The Rights Of Pregnant And Parenting Students
Educational institutions cannot enforce a rule that unfairly treats students because of their pregnancy or parenting status. Title IX bars schools from stopping a student of any gender from entering a program or activity because of pregnancy, childbirth or the termination of pregnancy.
Title IX protects school students from all kinds of discrimination whether it is based on gender or sexual orientation. The law ensures that students have a way to get justice in case they are harassed, bullied or treated in an unfair manner.