Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence
Title IX protects both female and male students from sexual harassment connected to any school program or activity, regardless of where it occurs. The 2008 Sexual Harassment: It's Not Academic pamphlet defines sexual harassment as conduct that:
- Is sexual in nature
- Is unwelcome
- Denies or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from a school's education program.
This pamphlet also covers preventing, responding to, and reporting sexual harassment.
For information on sexual harassment, see Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties.
On April 4, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter and multiple fact sheets which reaffirm that the sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with their right to an education free from discrimination.
- To view the Dear Colleague letter, click here: April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter
- For questions and answers regarding the Dear Colleague letter, click here: Fact Sheet, Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Violence Background Summary and Fast Facts April 4, 2011
- For procedures schools must have in place to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence and to resolve complaints, click here: Know Your Rights: Title IX Prohibits Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Where You Go to School (April 4, 2011)
Considerations for School District Sexual Misconduct Policies
In September 2016, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault issued Considerations for School District Sexual Misconduct Policies highlighting a number of factors to assist districts in drafting a sexual misconduct policy. The Task Force recommends that districts consider developing a separate sexual misconduct policy or including a separate section in existing comprehensive anti-discrimination policy dedicated to addressing the unique issues of sexual misconduct. Use of a comprehensive drafting process which considers the unique aspects of the district and consultation with legal counsel to ensure full compliance with all applicable laws are also recommended.
The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students released the Safe Place to Learn online resource package to assist schools in the prevention of peer-to-peer sexual harassment and sexual violence. This resource includes: guidance for administrators, e-learning modules for school staff, a webinar discussion guide, a coordinated response team planning guide, a trauma sensitivity training module, as well as a number of other resources.
Questions and Answers
- Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence
- Frequently Asked Questions about Sexual Harassment, Including Sexual Violence
Know Your Rights About Title IX and Sexual Violence
- Know Your Rights about Title IX and Sexual Violence
- Know Your Rights about Title IX and Sexual Violence - Spanish
- Know Your Rights about Title IX and Sexual Violence - Chinese
- Know Your Rights about Title IX and Sexual Violence - Korean
- Know Your Rights about Title IX and Sexual Violence - Vietnamese
Gender-Based Harassment and Bullying
Gender-based harassment, also covered under Title IX, is unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, gender identity, or nonconformity with sex stereotypes. Gender-based harassment may include:
- Acts of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression
- Intimidation or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping
Such acts are considered to be gender-based harassment even if they do not involve conduct of a sexual nature because the conduct is sex-based.
For more information on gender-based harassment, harassment and bullying, see:
- Harassment and Bullying Background, Summary and Fast Facts Oct 26, 2010
- Oct 26, 2010 Dear Colleague letter on Harassment and Bullying
Bullying Prevention and Education
For information on bullying prevention and education, see:
- Centers for Disease Control Understanding Bullying Fact Sheet
- Colorado Department of Education, Office of Learning Supports, Bullying Prevention and Education
- National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments