Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities receiving federal funding, including colleges and universities, and elementary and secondary schools.

All students – women, girls, men, and boys; straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming; students in elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities; part-time and full-time students; students with and without disabilities; and students of different races and national origins – have the right to pursue an education free from sex discrimination, including sexual violence and harassment.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division enforce Title IX in our nation’s schools. Sex-based discrimination in public schools also implicates legal rights under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act, which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

What are a school’s responsibilities under Title IX to address sexual violence?

  • A school has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual violence.
  • If a school knows (or reasonably should know) about possible sexual violence, it must quickly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.
  • A criminal investigation into allegations of sexual violence does not relieve a school of its duty under Title IX to resolve reports promptly and effectively.
  • A school must ensure that the person who experienced the sexual violence is safe, even while an investigation is ongoing.

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