While I was a high school principal, I observed first hand how emotionally difficult it was for students to report sexual harassment and assault. The self-doubt, shame and embarrassment that victims experience can be overwhelming, causing many to hold back their reports.
Now, rather than making it easier for victims to receive the justice they deserve, Betsy DeVos wants to roll back the rights of students who have been sexually assaulted. She has proposed rules that would narrow the definition of what constitutes sexual harassment, limit the number of school personnel to whom reports can be made, and raise the bar for student discipline to a level similar to what is needed in criminal court rather than the current standard, which is modeled on civil liability cases. In addition, if a student is raped by a fellow student while off campus, the victim will have no recourse within the school.
These rollbacks on student protections come from DeVos for whom taxpayers have spent an estimated $20 million for her round-the-clock security. What is one of DeVos’s rationales for these changes? It will save schools money.
For those of us who care about students and their safety, this is outrageous. These rules are not yet in place. There is still time to make a difference. Here is what you can do.
- Go to https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ED-2018-OCR-0064-0001
- In the ‘Comment” box, type the phrase “I submit this comment in response to the Secretary of Education’s proposed amendments of regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.” Then continue with your comment (see an example below), or submit a letter in a Word document.
- Enter your first and last name.
- Follow the directions to submit.
Below is a comment you can cut and paste in the box, or you can expand it and submit your comment in a word document:
I submit this comment in response to the The Secretary of Education’s proposed amendments to regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in regard to the remedies available to victims of sexual assault. Rather than making it easier for victims to report and receive the justice they deserve, the amendments instead roll back the rights of students who have been sexually assaulted. This is unacceptable. These amendments to regulations should be rejected.
Then please post this link on social media to encourage more comments.
Thank you for all that you do!
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Network for Public Education Action
PO Box 227