Of the Office for Civil Rights
Fiscal Year 2006
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A. Complaint Resolutions
In FY 2006, OCR received 670 complaints that contained allegations related to discrimination on the basis of sex. Over half of these complaints, 338, involved elementary and secondary schools, and 250 alleged violations at postsecondary institutions. OCR received 144 complaints alleging discrimination in athletic programs and activities on the basis of sex.
In FY 2006, OCR received 95 complaints that included allegations of sexual harassment. The following are examples of resolutions OCR obtained that address this issue.
- A complaint alleged a school district failed to respond appropriately to information that a student had been sexually harassed. In the course of OCR’s investigation, the district acknowledged that its response was inadequate and agreed to take corrective action. OCR also found that the district did not have policies and procedures for addressing other forms of discrimination on the basis of sex other than sexual harassment. The district agreed to draft and publish grievance procedures in accordance with the requirements of Title IX, as well as to provide all students, parents and employees with a written notice regarding the availability of its grievance procedures.
- A complaint alleged a school district failed to respond to allegations of sexual harassment in a prompt and appropriate manner when one of the district’s employees, a custodian, engaged in sexual activity with a secondary special education student during the school day. OCR determined the district’s response to the harassment failed to remedy the effects of the harassment on the student. As a result of OCR’s findings, the district agreed to offer and pay for counseling for the student and provide additional Title IX training for school staff.
Resolved Through Early Complaint Resolution (ECR)
- A complaint, filed by the parent of a female junior high school student, alleged a school district failed to take effective corrective action when a male student sexually harassed the complainant’s daughter on a school bus. The complaint also alleged the school district subjected the female student to different treatment by disciplining her more severely than the male student following the incident. OCR facilitated an agreement between the parent and the district that was mutually acceptable to both parties. The district agreed, among other things, to apply its sexual harassment policy and procedures to address the actions of the male student and to take disciplinary action against him as necessary and appropriate under the policy. The suspension received by the female student was expunged from her record. In addition, the district, which enrolls more than 3,000 students, agreed to train staff on its sexual harassment policies and procedures and review its student discipline procedures.
In FY 2006, OCR received 144 complaints alleging discrimination in athletic programs and activities on the basis of sex. Of these, 16 were filed against post-secondary institutions, and 127 involved elementary and secondary schools. Additionally, 17 of the 144 athletics complaints concerned the issue of accommodating interest and ability, one of which was filed against a postsecondary institution.
- A complaint alleged a school district did not provide female students with equal athletic opportunities in accordance with Title IX. Specifically, the complaint alleged that females at a junior high school had only one softball team while boys had two baseball teams and that females at the high school level had only two basketball teams while boys had three basketball teams. The complaint also alleged disparities regarding equipment and supplies, practice and competitive facilities, scheduling of games, assignment and compensation of coaches, and publicity. OCR’s investigation confirmed the district did not effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes on sports teams or provide equivalent benefits or opportunities. The district voluntarily entered into a resolution agreement with OCR in which it agreed, among other things, to offer additional interscholastic sports teams for female students; provide equipment and supplies equally among girls’ and boys’ athletic teams; and provide improved facilities for the softball team. OCR’s agreement in this complaint affected over 2,747 students.
- A complaint alleged that a school district discriminated against female students on the basis of sex by failing to effectively accommodate the athletic interests and abilities of students. After an investigation, OCR accepted a settlement agreement in which the district agreed to assess the athletic interests of its students and, if necessary, to develop a plan for effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of its students. OCR confirmed, through its monitoring activities, that the district’s actions pursuant to the OCR settlement agreement increased the number of interscholastic athletic participation opportunities available to girls by nearly 14 percent. Consistent with OCR policy to seek remedies that do not involve the cutting or reduction of teams in order to demonstrate compliance with Title IX, the district’s actions did not include elimination of opportunities for boys.
- A complaint alleged that a district failed to provide female softball athletes at one of its high schools with equal athletic opportunities in the provision of locker rooms, and practice and competitive facilities. Based on OCR’s findings, the district agreed to provide equal athletic opportunities by making improvements at the high school’s softball field, including relocating one of its varsity softball fields to a more suitable location and installing bleachers, sideline fencing, fenced dugouts, player’s benches, outfield fencing, foul poles, a field irrigation system, a scoreboard and a regraded infield at the new site. The resolution affected over 40 girls at the high school who participated in interscholastic softball competition.