Equal Rights Advocates Demands Answers From SF Bay Area Schools Following Investigative Report Revealing Widespread Ignorance of Title IX Requirements
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – November 1, 2012 – Equal Rights Advocates, a national non-profit organization with a long history of enforcing civil rights laws in schools and workplaces, announced today its filing of formal information requests with over 100 school districts in the San Francisco Bay Area, seeking records about the school districts’ compliance with Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination at schools.
The action follows on the heels of a troubling report by the investigative unit of NBC Bay Area on October 30, 2012, which revealed widespread ignorance of and non-compliance with basic requirements of Title IX among 200 Bay Area schools, including its requirement that schools designate a “Title IX coordinator” to receive and investigate and act upon sex discrimination and harassment complaints. The investigation reveals that principals at some Bay Area schools were unaware of Title IX and could not identify the school’s Title IX coordinator or if the school even had one. See the complete NBC Bay Area video report: “Bay Area Schools Ignoring Title IX?”
Equal Rights Advocates Executive Director Noreen Farrell commented: “Ignorance of Title IX’s basic requirements by school leaders forty years after its passage is shameful and it is hurting girls. Equal Rights Advocates hears from students and parents across California and the country who don’t know their rights, and have no idea where to turn when they face sexual harassment or other discriminatory treatment at school.”
In response to the disturbing results of the NBC investigation, Equal Rights Advocates is filing formal Public Records Act requests with over 100 school districts in the Bay Area requesting documents that evidence or describe their efforts to comply with Title IX, including the identity and contact information for their Title IX coordinators, any written policies and procedures relating to compliance with Title IX, documents relating to Title IX training programs, and the districts’ responses to any Title IX complaints that have been filed over the last three years (redacting any personal information to protect the privacy of those who are involved.)
“Our goal in collecting this information will be to identify gaps in Title IX compliance and to encourage San Francisco Bay Area school district officials to take immediate steps to bring their districts into compliance,” said Farrell. ERA Legal Director Jennifer Reisch added: “ERA intends to enforce Title IX. Millions of girls depend on it.”
About ERA: Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), founded in 1974, is a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls. Through its campaign approach—incorporating public education, legislative advocacy, and litigation—ERA seeks to assist women and girls throughout a life-long continuum: ensuring equality in their educational experience, combating sex discrimination in the workforce, and advocating for workplaces hospitable to working families. To learn more about ERA’s work, visit www.equalrights.org.