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Our Turn: Title IX: It is More than Sports

While people may be familiar with Title IX as it prohibits gender-based discrimination in sports, many are less familiar with other anti-discrimination protective factors it has, including protecting against sexual assault and harassment in school. Title IX is a U.S. federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination within K-12 schools, higher education and any educational programs that receive federal funding.

While strides have been made in reducing discrimination and ensuring equitable funding in women’s sports, Title IX’s prohibition against gender-based violence and harassment are worthy of similar attention. This includes when sexual assault, dating violence, sexual harassment, and stalking occur during school activities, as these can impact a student’s ability to fully access their education. Under Title IX, students who are eligible under Title IX can request supportive measures from their school.

What do supportive measures look like in the case of someone seeking assistance from their school? It could mean that an individual has an educational plan in place so that assignments they may have missed due to their experience can be cut in half or they could make them up without consequences for being late. It could mean that they get to retake any tests that they failed or missed due to their experience. It could also mean that they get to take breaks throughout the day when they’re overwhelmed without risk of being punished for it. And, if their perpetrator is another student on school property, the survivor may be allowed to switch classes and have a no contact order on school property and during school sanctioned events.

The Title IX Coordinator is a person within the school or school district who can answer questions about Title IX, the process of receiving supportive measures, and options for filing a complaint. The Title IX Coordinator’s information is readily available at schools and can be obtained by asking the principal or administrator or by calling the Superintendent’s office. One can look at a school’s website and student handbook to locate Title IX information. Turning Points Network is also a resource to all of those in Sullivan County who want to find out more about Title IX, and for anybody who is a victim-survivor of sexual assault or harassment.

OUR TURN is a public service series by Turning Points Network (TPN), serving all of Sullivan County with offices in Claremont and Newport. We provide wraparound supports for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and sex trafficking and we present violence-prevention education programs in our schools. For more than 40 years, TPN has helped people of all ages move toward living with respect, healing, and hope that we all deserve. We can be reached 24/7 on our crisis and support line at 1.800.639.3130. Between 9-4 Monday-Friday, we are available on our chatline at www.turningpointsnetwork.org or by text at 603.506.6553.

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