Almost one-and-a-half years after releasing its proposed rule, the U.S. Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations on May 6, 2020. Because the 2020 Title IX regulations become effective on August 14, 2020, K-12 schools and school districts must move quickly to come into compliance during what are already particularly trying times. The attorneys at Franczek P.C. are prepared to guide your educational institution as you navigate the many challenges the new regulations bring. We have the depth and experience not only to help you address these and other legal changes that may come, but also to deal with the full range of more-conventional Title IX issues that educational institutions face, including everyday counseling regarding investigations, policy and procedure updates, defending against Office for Civil Rights (OCR) complaints, and handling all types of Title IX litigation.
Examples of our Title IX experience include:
- Drafting and updating policies governing sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other issues covered by Title IX, state law, and related agency and regulatory guidance
- Counseling administrators when sexual harassment or sexual assault reports are made or other Title IX issues occur, including providing consultation throughout all phases of a school’s investigation and response
- Defending schools, colleges, and universities against Title IX lawsuits and agency charges by both complainants and respondents
- Representing clients under investigation by the Office for Civil Rights
- Training Title IX coordinators, officials with authority, investigators, and other administrators about the legal requirements of Title IX and related laws, as well as proper techniques for investigating and resolving formal complaints of sexual misconduct, and
- Delivering prevention and awareness training regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault, and related issues to a variety of campus constituencies.
Policies and Procedures
Our Title IX Toolkit includes all the tools you need to bring your institution into compliance with the new Title IX regulations, including templates for required forms, notices, and other essential documents that easily can be tailored to reflect your institution’s culture, values, and practices.
Title IX Toolkit
The 2020 Title IX regulations will require significant changes to your educational institution’s policies and procedures, including many new forms, notices, and other documents necessary to meet the requirements of the new rules.
Franczek P.C.’s Title IX Toolkit includes all the tools you need to bring your institution into compliance with the new Title IX regulations, including a compliance action plan, notices, forms and letters, and insights and analysis of the Illinois PRESS policy.
Toolkit subscribers will also receive access to an exclusive webinar addressing Toolkit and PRESS policy customization. Our policies and procedures, including templates for required forms, notices, and other essential documents can be easily tailored to reflect your institution’s culture, values, and practices.
Policy and Procedure Review
At Franczek P.C., we know that there are also many other important reasons to have clear and compliant policies and procedures that reflect not only the law but also your institution’s culture and values. Strong policies and procedures are essential to protecting student safety, preventing confusion in the dispute resolution process, and ensuring parties to a dispute are aware of their rights.
Our attorneys know that good policies and procedures are an asset to your institution, and we have the experience and knowledge needed to identify weaknesses and propose solutions to address them. We are steeped in the legal and regulatory requirements and so do not need to reinvent the wheel to help clients reach their policy and procedure goals.
For more information on our Title IX services, email TitleIX@franczek.com.
Our interactive, engaging, customized trainings—offered both in person and online using videoconferencing—go beyond meeting the requirements in the 2020 Title IX Regulations. They increase safety, reduce confusion, and mitigate risk.
The 2020 Title IX regulations for the first time require specific training for school and school district employees, including Title IX Coordinators, investigators/administrators, decisionmakers, and mediators. Because the rules require K-12 schools to respond to sexual harassment reports and complaints if any employee has actual knowledge of the harassment, it is also essential that all K-12 staff receive basic training so that they can report it as required. Our interactive, engaging, customized trainings—offered both in person and online using videoconferencing—meet all requirements under the new rules.
The attorneys at Franczek P.C. know all too well that trainings that merely address legal requirements are often not enough. Our trainings go beyond the bare minimum to address issues that, through our decades of experience, we have learned increase safety, reduce confusion, and mitigate risk.
Examples of trainings that we will offer for stakeholders who must or should be trained under the 2020 Title IX regulations include training for:
- All K-12 Staff and Board Members – Covers reporting requirements under Title IX and Illinois employment sexual harassment (required by December 2020)
- Title IX Coordinators – Addresses requirements for training of coordinators and investigators in Title IX regulations as well as issues such as how to increase safety for students and how to mitigate risk to the institution from sexual harassment
- Decisionmakers – Any person who will serve as a decisionmaker in a formal complaint or appeal must receive specific training under the Title IX regulations, including training on school-specific policies and procedures. Decisionmakers may include building administrators, district-level administrators, and school board members. Although the Title IX Coordinator cannot serve as a decisionmaker, we recommend that the Coordinator attend this training.
- Informal Resolution Mediators – Any person who will mediate informal resolution processes in a school setting must receive specific training under the Title IX regulations. This training will also cover best practices for mediation not required by the rules. Even if the Title IX Coordinator does not intend to serve as a mediator, we recommend that the Coordinator attend this training.
The 2020 Title IX regulations require that schools post all training materials on their websites. At Franczek P.C., we make complying with this mandate easy for you by providing a link to an online version of the training materials you purchase, along with a limited license to repost the information on your institution’s webpage.
For more information on our Title IX services, email TitleIX@Franczek.com
Investigations, Determinations, and Informal Resolution
For some schools, conducting investigations, determinations (including appeals), and informal resolution processes in-house is not feasible or advisable, at least in some situations. Our team includes attorneys with required training under the 2020 Title IX regulations who can immediately assist you with these matters.
Under the 2020 Title IX regulations, schools must comply with strict procedures when investigating and otherwise responding to formal complaints under Title IX. The regulations for the first time require that appeals be offered to parties in certain situations, as well. They also allow informal resolution of some types of sexual harassment complaints. Of course, many institutions will have in-house investigators to investigate claims, decisionmakers to decide complaints and appeals, and facilitators to handle informal resolutions. In some cases, staffing and training limitations, conflicts of interest, and even the sensitive nature of allegations may necessitate looking outside an institution’s walls for an investigator, decisionmaker, or facilitator. When they do, Franczek P.C.’s experienced, trained attorneys are available to assist.
We are confident you will find our team of attorneys well-qualified to assist you with your investigative, determinations of complaints and appeals, and information resolution needs. Attorneys on our team have received all required training under the 2020 Title IX regulations to serve as investigators, decisionmakers, and facilitators in Title IX matters. Our team members understand the Title IX law and regulations thoroughly, making them particularly well-qualified for the difficult legal determinations that are required in Title IX internal appeals. Our team also includes attorneys with particular experience in conducting informal mediations, including a former OCR attorney who served on OCR’s Early Complaint Resolution/Facilitated Resolution Between the Parties team.
For more information on our Title IX services, email TitleIX@Franczek.com.