Officials in the Tamalpais Union High School District must complete a series of steps to ensure nondiscrimination after a federal investigation determined they violated Title IX rules by inadequately responding to allegations of sex-based harassment in 2017 and 2018.
A transgender student was harassed allegedly by another student.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced its decision Friday, which included a five-page resolution agreement outlining the steps the district must take before federal officials will close the case. One of those steps includes providing up to $5,000 to reimburse the family of the transgender student for past counseling services.
According to the announcement, district officials “failed to respond promptly and effectively to repeated notice of ongoing sex-based harassment of a transgender student by another student, predicated on sex stereotyping.”
The investigation also found that “the district failed to investigate known allegations that the other student had repeatedly harassed the student about her appearance, her voice, her body, her name, and her pronouns since the start of the 2017-18 school year. The ongoing harassment the student experienced over the course of months left her feeling unsafe on campus.”
“This resolution will not only address discrimination against this one student but also ensure other students will not suffer the recurring harassment she experienced at school.”Catherine E. Lhamon, U.S. Department of Education
In addition, district officials failed to respond promptly or effectively when the student complained in the spring of 2018 that the harassment was continuing, and that the district’s ensuing investigation was neither adequate or equitable.
As a result, the federal investigation found “the district permitted the student to be subjected to a hostile environment based on sex that was sufficiently serious to deny or limit the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program.”
Federal officials said the resolution agreement reached Friday commits the district to take the steps needed to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in all of its education programs and activities.
“This resolution will not only address discrimination against this one student but also ensure other students will not suffer the recurring harassment she experienced at school,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for civil rights, in the federal statement.
The district includes three traditional high schools and two alternative campuses. The federal announcement did not specify the school or schools where the harassment took place.
What’s in the resolution
A summary of the district’s commitments in the voluntary resolution agreement includes the following:
• Offering to reimburse the student or her parent for past counseling and/or therapy services that the student received after the sex-based harassment began;
• Reviewing and revising, as necessary, its policies and procedures to clarify that harassment based on sex includes harassment based on sex stereotyping;
• Training its employees and contractors who respond to sex-based harassment about the Title IX obligation to respond promptly and equitably;
• Monitoring its schools’ responses to sex-based harassment complaints for compliance with the agreement and Title IX; and
• Providing documentation to Office for Civil Rights demonstrating that the district’s responses to complaints of sex-based harassment during academic years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 complied with the agreement and Title IX.
The letter to Tamalpais Union High School District and the resolution agreement are both available online.