Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Title IX
Title IX- Sex-Based Discrimination is Prohibited
Each student and employee has a right to learn and work in an environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in all educational programs and activities, including athletic programs. No person shall, on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any academic, extracurricular, research, or other program or activity operated by the District. Title IX protects all participants in the District’s educational programs and activities, including students, parents, employees, and job applicants. The District does not discriminate on the basis of sex. Discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment and sexual violence. In addition to Title IX, the California Education Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in school (California Education Code §§ 220-221.1.).
Additional information can be found on the California Department of Education's Title IX website: https://www.cde.ca.gov/re/di/eo/genequitytitleix.aspWhat is sex discrimination or sexual harassment under Title IX?
- An employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the District on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; typically referred to as "quid pro quo" sexual harassment;
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the District's education program or activity; often referred to as "hostile environment" sexual harassment;
- Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking as defined under the Clery Act or Violence Against Women Act.
(b) On the basis of sex, provision of different amounts or types of student financial aid, limitation of eligibility for student financial aid, or the application of different criteria to applicants for student financial aid or for participation in the provision of student financial aid by others. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit an educational institution from administering, or assisting in the administration of, scholarships, fellowships, or other forms of student financial aid, established pursuant to domestic or foreign wills, bequests, trusts, or similar legal instruments or by acts of a foreign government, which require that awards be made to members of a particular sex; provided, that the overall effect of the award of these sex-restricted scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of student financial aid does not discriminate on the basis of sex.
(c) On the basis of sex, exclusion from participation in, or denial of equivalent opportunity in, athletic programs. For purposes of this subdivision, “equivalent” means equal or equal in effect.
(d) An educational institution may be found to have effectively accommodated the interests and abilities in athletics of both sexes within the meaning of Section 4922 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations as that section exists on January 1, 2003, using any one of the following tests:
(1) Whether interscholastic level participation opportunities for male and female pupils are provided in numbers substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments.
(2) Where the members of one sex have been and are underrepresented among interscholastic athletes, whether the school district can show a history and continuing practice of program expansion that is demonstrably responsive to the developing interest and abilities of the members of that sex.
(3) Where the members of one sex are underrepresented among interscholastic athletes, and the institution cannot show a history and continuing practice of program expansion as required in paragraph (2), whether the school district can demonstrate that the interest and abilities of the members of that sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the present program.
(e) If an educational institution must cut its athletic budget, the educational institution shall do so consistently with its legal obligation to comply with both state and federal gender equity laws.
(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that the three-part test articulated in subdivision (d) be interpreted as it has been in the policies and regulations of the Office of Civil Rights in effect on January 1, 2003.
(g) On the basis of sex, harassment or other discrimination among persons, including, but not limited to, students and nonstudents, or academic and nonacademic personnel, in employment and the conditions thereof, except as it relates to a bona fide occupational qualification.
(h) On the basis of sex, the application of any rule concerning the actual or potential parental, family, or marital status of a person, or the exclusion of any person from any program or activity or employment because of pregnancy or related conditions.
B. Students and employees may not be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to harassment or other forms of discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression in any academic, extracurricular (including athletics) program or activity.
C. Students may not be required to take and/or may not be denied enrollment in a course because of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
D. Students have the right to be evaluated and graded without regard to their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
E. Counseling and guidance provided to students must not be discriminatory
F. Staff may not urge students to enroll in particular classes or programs or activities based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
G. Schools must offer female and male students equal opportunities to play sports.
H. Equipment and supplies, scheduling of gamers and practices, coaching, game and practice schedules, budgets, transportation, coaching travel allowances, practice, medical, training, and competitive facilities and services, publicity, support services and access to tutoring offered to teams are to be equivalent between male and female teams.
I. Pregnant and parenting students have the same right as any other student to continue in their regular school and in any program for which they qualify.
J. Students have the right to fair and equitable treatment and you shall not be discriminated against based on your sex.
K. Students have the right to have access to a gender equity coordinator to answer questions regarding gender equity laws.
L. Students have the right to contact the State Department of Education and the California Interscholastic Federation to access information on gender equity laws.
M. Students have the right to file a confidential discrimination complaint with the United States Office of Civil Rights or the State Department of Education if you believe you have been discriminated against or if you believe you have received unequal treatment on the basis of your sex.
N. Students have the right to pursue civil remedies if you have been discriminated against.
O. Students have the right to be protected against retaliation if you file a discrimination complaint.
P. Students have the right to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities and use facilities consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the student’s records.
How do I file a complaint?
A target of sex discrimination or sexual harassment, their representative (a parent/caregiver, duly-authorized individual) or the Title IX Coordinator can file a formal written and signed complaint to request a Title IX investigation. Anyone can report sex discrimination or sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator, a site Title IX Designee, someone with authority to take corrective action, or to any elementary or secondary school employee. Reports can be made in person, by mail, telephone or by emailing the Title IX Coordinator and can be made at any time using the contact information here. If a report is made, the District will inform the alleged target of the complaint process and supports available. If you believe you, or your student, have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, you should contact your school site principal and/or the District's Chief Equity Compliance Officer, Section 504 Coordinator, and Title IX Coordinator:
Erin Johnston, Director I, Human Resources
1300 Baker Street
Bakersfield, California 93305
Because the complainant has a right to pursue a complaint under Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 605.03, Uniform Complaint Procedures for any allegation that is dismissed or denied under the Title IX complaint procedure, the Title IX Coordinator shall ensure that all requirements and timelines for Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 605.03, Uniform Complaint Procedures are concurrently met while implementing the Title IX procedure.
A complaint concerning unlawful sex discrimination may be filed only by persons who alleges having personally suffered unlawful discrimination, a person who believes that any specific class of individuals has been subjected to unlawful discrimination, or a duly authorized representative who alleges that an individual student has been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The complaint shall be initiated no later than six (6) months from the date when the alleged unlawful discrimination occurred, or six (6) months from the date that the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged unlawful discrimination. The time for filing may be extended for up to ninety (90) days by the Superintendent or designee for good cause upon written request by the complainant setting forth the reasons for the extension (Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 4630);
Support is available
Supportive measures will be made available to involved parties in an equitable manner once the District knows about sex discrimination or sexual harassment and regardless of whether a formal complaint investigation is requested.
Supportive measures can be: referrals for Student Support Progress Teams; options to avoid contact or mutual restrictions on contact between parties, such as changes to seating/classes/student groupings/work locations, leaves of absence, safety plans, safe paths of travel, increased monitoring of certain areas of campus to prevent reoccurrence and other similar measures; training and educational materials; academic supports, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, and modifications of work or class schedules; counseling, health/mental health supports, and restorative justice.
If after an individualized safety and risk analysis, it is determined there is an immediate threat to physical health or safety of an individual arising from the allegations, a removal of the accused may be justified. Written notice will be provided with opportunity to challenge the decision. The District may place an employee respondent on administrative leave during the pendency of the grievance process. Removals may not change rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or under the Americans with Disabilities Education Act.
Informal resolutions can happen
The parties may voluntarily agree in writing to an informal resolution (mediation, restorative justice) after the formal complaint is filed, except for when an employee is accused of misconduct involving a student. Any party may withdraw from informal resolution and resume the grievance process. A record of the informal resolution will be kept and can be shared.
What is the Title IX Grievance Process?
The investigation: Once a formal Title IX complaint is filed requesting an investigation, an investigator will be assigned. The parties will be treated equitably, including in the provision of supportive measures and remedies. They will receive notice of the specifics (e.g., when, where, who, conduct in question) of the allegations as known, and as any arise during the investigation. Persons involved in a Title IX complaint investigation have the right to an advisor of their choice, which could include an attorney. The investigator will be unbiased and free from conflicts of interest and will objectively review the complaint, any evidence, and any information from witnesses, expert witnesses and the parties. If the investigator conducts interviews, the parties will be provided time to prepare and will receive notice of the time/date/location/participants/purpose for the interviews. The parties will have an equal opportunity to review the evidence gathered over a period of 10 days and will have opportunities to ask for additional relevant questions to be considered and to provide more evidence before the investigation summary is provided to the parties at the same time. Once the investigation summary has been provided, the parties have another 10 days to recommend additional relevant questions and evidence for consideration before a final determination is made by a different neutral decision-maker. Information protected by a legal privilege will not be used in the investigation unless the party holding the privilege waives it.
The final determination: Anyone accused of sex discrimination or sexual harassment will be presumed innocent at the beginning of the investigation; the District will review the evidence provided by all parties and will make a determination of responsibility after the investigation using a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof or more likely than not. The final determination will be provided to the parties at the same time with appeal rights provided. It will explain the policies that were violated, the steps and methods taken to investigate, the findings of the investigation, conclusions about the findings, the ultimate determination and the reasons for it, any disciplinary sanctions that will be imposed on the respondent, any remedies available to the complainant to restore or preserve equal access. Overall, the investigation and final determination will be generally no longer than 60 days, unless good cause arises to extend the timeline such as the unavailability of a party/advisor/witness, law enforcement activity or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities. If so, a written explanation will be provided.
Remedies may be available
Remedies are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the District’s education programs or activities. Besides the supportive measures previously discussed, remedies may include: parent/student conferences; recovery time think sheets; behavior contracts; reflective behavior journaling; social emotional learning programs; warnings; detention; and formal discipline, such as suspension and expulsion.
A complaint can be dismissed
A complaint may be withdrawn by the complainant. A complaint may be dismissed by the District if the incident does not constitute sexual harassment, did not occur in the United States, if the target was not participating in or attempting to participate in the District’s educational programs or activities, if the respondent is no longer enrolled in or employed by the District, or if the District cannot gather sufficient evidence to reach a determination. The District will inform parties in writing at the same time. If warranted, the conduct may be addressed separately as provided in other District policies.
A dismissal or final determination can be appealed
Appeals are available after a complaint dismissal or after a final determination is made. Appeals can be made due to procedural irregularities in the investigation affecting the outcome, new evidence becoming available, or due to bias or a conflict of interest by Title IX personnel. An appeal must be filed in writing within 10 calendar days of receiving the notice of the decision or dismissal, stating the grounds for the appeal and including any relevant documentation in support of the appeal. Appeals submitted after this deadline are not timely and shall not be considered. A written decision shall be provided to the parties within 20 calendar days from the receipt of the appeal.
For complaints filed under the Uniform Complaint Procedure, the compliance officer will prepare and send a final written decision to the complainant and respondent, if any, within 60 calendar days of the District’s receipt of the complaint (unless this deadline is extended by mutual agreement).
The complainant or respondent may appeal the District’s decision within fifteen calendar days to the California Department of Education. The appeal must specify the reason for the appeal and whether the District’s facts are incorrect and/or the law is misapplied. The appeal must include a copy of the original complaint to the District and a copy of the District’s decision. For more information, visit the California Department of Education’s webpage on Uniform Complaint Procedures.
For complaints alleging unlawful discrimination based on state law, the complainant may pursue available civil law remedies, including seeking assistance from mediation centers or public/private interest attorneys, sixty calendar days after filing an appeal with the California Department of Education. (California Education Code § 262.3.) Note that this sixty-day moratorium does not apply to complaints seeking injunctive relief in state courts or to discrimination complaints based on federal law. (California Education Code § 262.3.)
Complaints may also be filed with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. The majority of OCR staff are working remotely because of the pandemic. Therefore, to ensure receipt of your correspondence, please consider emailing (OCR@ed.gov) or faxing (202-453-6012) it to our office, where it will receive immediate attention. If neither of these options are available to you, mail your correspondence to the address below, and we will process it as soon as conditions allow. You may also contact us at 800-421-3481 or OCR@ed.gov to confirm receipt of your correspondence.
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
If the compliance officer finds that a complaint has merit, the District will take appropriate corrective action.
For additional information regarding Title IX rights and responsibilities please contact the Title IX Coordinator or visit the web sites for The California Department of Education's Office for Equal Opportunity and the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
Constitutional protections exist
The District will not restrict any rights that are protected from government action under the United States Constitution.
There are protections from retaliation
No employee or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege under Title IX, or because the individual made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in an investigation or proceeding under this law. Free speech does not constitute retaliation; charging someone with making a materially false statement does not constitute retaliation. A complaint can be filed for retaliation.
The Title IX law and Resources