Title IX - For Students

Understand how Title IX, designed to keep students safe, can also require help from a lawyer. Learn more about Title IX student defense.

Title IX Student Defense

Your Questions About Title IX for Students, Answered

Title IX is a federal civil rights law designed to keep students safe from gender discrimination as well as sexual harassment and sexual violence at school. It prohibits discrimination in all school programs and activities based on gender. A Title IX lawsuit is when a student or school employee experiences discrimination on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy), sexual harassment, or sexual violence and files a lawsuit in response to their situation.

If you or someone you know have experienced gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence, or if you are currently involved in a Title IX investigation, you might have some questions about the federal civil rights law, including questions about Title IX defense for students.

Here’s what you need to know about Title IX.

What Does Title IX Mean for Students?

Under the federal civil rights law, schools must state and publish a policy stating that gender discrimination is prohibited in their educational efforts, activities (including after-school activities), and programs. This policy must be distributed to all students and easily accessible at all times (be it published on a website, or a poster in classrooms and administration buildings). Schools must also create proper procedures for students and teachers to file complaints of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. These procedures must also be published so that students and faculty know how to report Title IX violations.

Title IX means that students are protected from gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence and have a safe and appropriate way for reporting any of the above at school. It also means that schools have proper procedures in place for addressing the concerns of students and are inclusive of the student's rights to equal opportunity when presenting their case and providing witnesses. Students also have the right to a clear understanding of the time frame in which a school will investigate the situation.

How Does Title IX Help Online Students?

Online students at accredited schools are still considered students and their Title IX rights are no different from those who attend classes in person. Should an online student experience gender discrimination (including discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy) or sexual harassment while attending online classes, programs, and activities, they have the same rights as a student doing so in person.

How Does Title IX Protect Teachers and Students?

Title IX also protects school employees, giving them the same rights as students if and when they are faced with unfortunate situations of discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. School teachers and employees have a right to follow the administration’s procedure for reporting a Title IX complaint and a right to all other protocols within the school’s policies and procedures, including the right to equal opportunity when presenting their case and providing witnesses and other evidence necessary to report their situation. 

Additionally, all schools are required to designate a Title IX Coordinator and provide the name and contact information of this employee. The Title IX Coordinator’s job is to coordinate the school’s Title IX policies and procedures.

What Triggers a Title IX Investigation?

Upon the occurrence of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence, schools are required by law to immediately take action as soon as receiving notice of the situation, prompting an investigation. 

When a Title IX offense is reported, the school’s Title IX Coordinator will contact the person accused of sexual discrimination, harassment, or violence in writing stating that a complaint was filed against them and they are not allowed to communicate with the complainant. Additionally, the accused will receive a meeting request from the Title IX Investigator to learn more about the situation and take down a statement from the accused.

What Are the Consequences for Title IX?

The consequences for Title IX depend on what is deemed appropriate for the situation. If found guilty, the accused can be presented with a variety of repercussions, including criminal charges (depending on the situation). For the most part, consequences for Title IX include anything from a written warning, required counseling to suspension or expulsion from school. Students can also lose scholarships and experience degree withholding, too. Employees might be faced with job or tenure loss, suspension, and required counseling.

Title IX Defense for Students

Under Title IX law, schools are required to have their own policies and procedures in place for properly handling situations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. And, while a private defense attorney does not have many rights within a school investigation, a student defense attorney can help if a student is faced with a hearing. Having Title IX defense for students ensures that an experienced lawyer conducts their own investigation of the situation, helps prepare the accused for questioning during a hearing, and ensures you are treated equally—which is part of Title IX law—throughout the process.

A Title IX attorney might also provide peace of mind for the complainant who has experienced discrimination, harassment, or violence since they ensure equal and fair treatment of their clients in a hearing and throughout other situations involving a Title IX investigation.

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