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Title IX Protects K-12 Students, And Obama Wants It Enforced

The administration has released guidelines to help school districts deal with sexual misconduct.
Posted at 10:37 PM, Sep 19, 2016

President Obama has already made fighting sexual assault on college campuses a major priority, and now he's widening this focus to offer more resources to combat sexual assault in K-12 schools. Monday, the administration released guidance to help schools respond to sexual misconduct. 

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The materials range from telling school districts to create a separate sexual misconduct policy to covering what should actually be in the policy. The Education Department's assistant secretary for civil rights told Politico: "It follows from very serious, very egregious issues we see in our enforcement work as well as ongoing requests for information from our educators who want to do right by the students."

It also reminds schools of their obligation to protect students from sexual harassment. Title IX requires even K-12 schools receiving federal funding to stop sexual harassment and violence. Schools not only have to begin investigations quickly, but also separate the survivors from the alleged perpetrators. 

According to at least one study, 21 percent of middle school students said they'd been touched inappropriately in some way on school grounds. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 4 percent of male and 10 percent of female high school students said they'd been forced to have sex. 

And the Department of Education says it has nearly 100 investigations on offenses ranging from sexual harassment to sexual violence in school districts around the country.