Your child’s school should be a place where they learn the skills that they need to become responsible adults. You trust that the teachers and administrators take their jobs seriously and would not do anything that could jeopardize their students. Unfortunately, recent headlines describing school shootings and sexual assaults have shown that schools are not always the safest places.
Still, the law says that schools are required to have procedures and policies in place to help students who are in danger and to create an atmosphere that is free from discrimination and violence. When a school fails to put these protections in place or does not follow its guidelines, then you may be able to file a lawsuit under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.
A claim under Title IX may require the school to change its policies or take a specific action. In some cases, however, you may even be entitled to monetary damages if you file a lawsuit based on a Title IX claim. The litigation and school offence lawyers at George Law have the extensive knowledge and specialized experience to help with your potential claim.
What Is Title IX?
The Civil Rights Act of 1965 is a national law that was created to ensure that students at secondary schools and universities are not discriminated against based on sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Title IX is a section of the Civil Rights Act that deals specifically with schools that receive funding from the U.S. government. This means that schools that do not accept any money from the government may not be required to follow the rules and regulations found in Title IX.
What Does Title IX Cover?
Under Title IX, students who attend schools that receive federal funding are given certain rights. This means that they must be protected against discrimination and certain types of violence while attending those schools. Schools subject to the law must take reports of sexual assault and harassment seriously and investigate any claims they receive. They must also have a policy to alert students of their rights to contact law enforcement and file a formal complaint.
Schools must also make an effort to stop assault and harassment on their campuses. This means that they must maintain a safe atmosphere and hold students who violate the rights of others accountable. This can include disciplinary actions and the removal of a student from the school’s campus. Below is a list of requirements that every school subject to Title IX must meet:
The school must have and publish a policy against sexual discrimination. Discrimination based on sex has no place in education, and every school must develop and distribute a policy that states that. The policy must be available for every student to see and be posted continually.
The school must have a Title IX Coordinator: A Title IX Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the school complies with Title IX. This means that the coordinator must make sure that the school is following all the requirements contained in Title IX. The name and contact information of the coordinator must be made available to the students. The coordinator will be responsible for overseeing sexual discrimination complaints and addressing any problematic issues in the school’s culture surrounding sexual assault and discrimination.
The school must have a known procedure for students to file sexual assault and discrimination complaints. Students must be able to file complaints with their school if they believe that they are the victim of sexual assault or discrimination. The procedure to do this must be known to the students. Students cannot be discouraged from filing complaints by the school or its staff. Once a complaint has been filed, a student must be notified of its progress and that an investigation is being conducted. Students also have the right to present their cases fairly and impartially. This means that they can call witnesses, present evidence, and appeal the decision if they so choose.
Who Can File?
Title IX complaints and lawsuits can be filed by anyone who believes they are the victim of sexual discrimination at a school that receives federal funding. This means that you or your child may be able to file a complaint if they were the victim of sexual discrimination while attending a public secondary school or university.
Title IX Complaints And Lawsuits
It is important to understand that under Title IX, there are complaints, and there are also lawsuits that you can file. While you could certainly end up filing both, only one of them can result in monetary damages being awarded. A Title IX complaint is filed with the Department of Education and is usually done to force a school to change a policy or conduct an investigation. A Title IX lawsuit is filed in federal court and can result in damages being paid if you have suffered some harm due to a school’s misconduct.
Title IX Lawsuits
The process for filing a Title IX complaint is different from that of a lawsuit. A lawsuit based on a Title IX claim will usually include hiring an attorney and may require you to attend court dates. The lawsuit is also the only option open to you if you are seeking damages based on the harm you have suffered. Being the victim of sexual assault that was not taken seriously or that was investigated in an unfair or dismissive nature can have a devastating effect on your educational experience and can cause lifelong emotional issues. The courts have been known to award monetary damages if it can be shown that you suffered emotional distress due to the school’s misconduct.
Title IX Complaints
A Title IX complaint is still a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. Many people first file a Title IX complaint before they pursue a lawsuit. This is typically done to force a school to take a specific action concerning sexual assault or discrimination. While a Title IX complaint may not get you any money, it can force a school to investigate your claims and take disciplinary action. What comes out during the investigation may eventually be used if you decide to file a lawsuit based on a Title IX violation.
Do I Have A Case?
Title IX complaints and lawsuits are complex. They involve multiple steps and the filing of legal documents. Still, almost all Title IX cases surround some sexual or gender-based discrimination. This can include assault and harassment. This means that you may have a case if you were somehow treated differently by your school based on your sex or gender. A school that was indifferent to your sexual assault or discrimination claims may be violating your Title IX rights. Deciding whether you have a case can be done after carefully reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding what happened. Still, you must remember that there are time limits on when you can file a complaint or lawsuit. This means that you must act fast if you believe you were the victim of a Title IX violation.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
If you are filing a lawsuit, then you may need to do so in federal court. As with most lawsuits, you will need to make sure that you have filed it in the proper jurisdiction and that you have stated a claim that will entitle you to damages. Most people are unfamiliar with these processes and could benefit from the help of a lawyer. While having a lawyer is not required, it is certainly recommended if you are filing a federal lawsuit against a university.
When filing a Title IX complaint, the Department of Education will be handling the matter and presumably conducting an investigation. But even with a Title IX complaint, you may want a lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly under the law. As mentioned earlier, a Title IX complaint may reveal information that could help you if you decide to file a lawsuit against your school. Having a lawyer throughout that process can help you obtain the evidence necessary to be successful if you pursue these claims in court.
Michigan Title IX Lawyer
George Law has meaningfully helped many clients in Michigan with obtaining remedies against Title IX violators. Our attorneys are ready to evaluate your situation and advise you on how to proceed. To learn more, reach out to George Law.