Updated Title IX Information - Final Rule

On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) released its Final Rule, which amends existing Title IX regulations. This is the Department’s first action of its kind in decades.  The Final Rule, which encompasses both the amended regulations and accompanying commentary, exceed 2,000 pages, and takes effect on August 14, 2020.  The regulations bring sweeping changes to how educational institutions address, investigate, and adjudicate allegations of sexual harassment occurring within their programs and activities.   These changes include jurisdictional changes based on the definition of sexual harassment and of educational programs and activities in the Final Rule.  The amended regulations require significant revisions to existing policies and administrative guidelines, and necessitate staff training prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
 
Ludington Area Schools is in the process of developing updated policies and administrative guidelines that comply with the Final Rule.  The policies of the Board of Education can be found at the following website:

The new regulations focus on sexual harassment as a subset of sex based discrimination, they apply to staff to staff, staff to student, student to staff, and student to student sexual harassment. Major changes in the new regulations include:

  • New definition of sexual harassment;
  • Mandated reporting obligations for all K-12 staff;
  • Elimination of the single investigator model; Investigator, decision maker, and appeals officer must be different individuals;
  • Significant changes to the investigation process;
  • Seven (7) year record retention requirement;
  • New policy, training, and documentation requirements; and
  • Emphasis on due process and constitutional protections, as examples.

 The Final Rule can be found at the following link below:

The Board of Education designates the following individual to serve as the District’s Civil Rights and Title IX Coordinator:

Mr. Randy Fountain

Title IX and Civil Rights Coordinator

809 E. Tinkham Ave.

Ludington, MI 49431

Phone: (231) 845-7303

Email: rfountain@lasd.net


The following employees have also completed the requisite comprehensive training Title IX training required to serve as a coordinator, investigator, decision maker, or appeals officer:

Mrs. Katie Eisinger

Principal

809 E. Tinkham Ave.

Ludington, MI 49431

Phone: (231) 845-7303

Email: keisinger@lasd.net

 

Mr. Jason Kennedy

Superintendent

809 E. Tinkham Ave.

Ludington, MI 49431

Phone: (231) 845-7303

Email: jkennedy@lasd.net

The names, titles, and contact information of these individuals are published annually in multiple sources of District communication.

The amended regulations provide requisite training that must include the following:

  • The new definition of sexual harassment.
  • The scope of the district’s educational program or activities for jurisdiction.
  • How to consistently apply sexual harassment definitions.
  • How to investigate a formal complaint.
  • The grievance process, including hearings, appeals, and informal resolutions.
  • How individuals can impartially serve as an investigator, decision maker or appeal decision maker to avoid prejudgment of facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias issues.
  • How to use available technology to conduct a live hearing.
  • Investigator and Decision Makers must be trained on appropriate evidence and questions related to the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior and that sexual history irrelevant in K-12 context.
  • Investigators must be trained to prepare an Investigative Report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.
  • Training materials must be made available on the district’s website and for public review.
  • Training materials must be kept for a period of 7 years; districts may need to update their public records retention schedules.
  • All K-12 employees should be trained due to the heightened notice requirements applicable to all district employees.

The following are training resources that are required of District employees: