Title IX (Sexual Harassment)

Sexual Harassment (Title IX)

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972:  20 U.SC § 1681 & 34.C.F.R. Part 106

Title IX is a federal civil rights law signed in 1972 that sought to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded educational programs. Although it has a wide application in educational programs, the text of the law is very brief. For many years, it was primarily referenced in the context of women’s athletics at educational institution, but in recent years, it has also been used to address sexual harassment, sexual violence, and discrimination based on sex and/or gender. It protects all individuals, regardless of their sex, from discrimination and harassment based on sex.  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) enforces Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as well as other federal statutes.-services.

PSD policies regarding Title IX:

Policy AC - Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity

Policy AC-R1 -Reporting Discrimination / District Response to Discrimination Complaints

Policy AC-R2 - Sexual Harassment Investigation Procedures

Policy AC-E - Discrimination / Harassment Report and Complaint Form

Policy JBB - Harassment of Students 

Anyone can report allegations of sexual harassment 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week to the Title IX Coordinator. To report allegations of sexual harassment, please contact the Title IX Coordinator via voicemail, email, or completing the Sexual Harassment Incident Report.

For more information regarding the District’s policies and procedures related to Sexual Harassment, please visit District Policy AC-R2-Sexual Harassment (Title IX).

What issues are covered under Title IX?

  • Athletic Opportunities and Benefits
  • Pregnant or Parenting Students
  • Single Sex Classes and Schools
  • STEM

Complaints and reports involving any of the above issues will be addressed as described in District Regulation AC-R1.

The District defines sexual harassment as conduct on the basis of sex that falls into one of six categories.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment: A District employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Hostile environment sexual harassment: Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the District’s education programs or activities.

  • Sexual assault: An offense that falls into the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting categories of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape. 
  • Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
  • Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim.
  • Incest: Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Statutory rape: Non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. 

Dating violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship is determined by a consideration of the length and type of relationship and the frequency of the parties’ interactions during the relationship. 

Domestic violence: Violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim. 

Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person based on their sex that would cause a reasonable person to a) fear for their safety or the safety of others, or b) suffer substantial emotional distress.

Complaints and reports involving any of the above issues under "Sexual harassment" will be addressed as described in District Regulation AC-R2

Note: If a student experiences a form of discrimination or sexual misconduct that is not explicitly covered under Title IX, they may still report the discrimination or misconduct to any responsible employee, and it will be addressed as described in District Regulation AC-R1

Sexual Harassment (Title IX) Coordinators

"Title IX Coordinator" means the employee designated by the District to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title IX responsibilities. The District's Title IX Coordinator is: 

Ruben Chacón, Director of Student Services

1502 S Timberline Rd, Fort Collins, Co 80524

(970) 490-3033

PSD also utilizes Deputy Title IX Coordinators at every school in the district who are responsible for handling reports and complaints of unlawful sex-based discrimination, conducting investigations, and submitting an investigation report to the site-based decision-maker. These role designations are underway and will be posted on this website and shared with families as soon as possible. 

The PSD Deputy Title IX Coordinator for handling reports and complaints of unlawful discrimination/harassment against employees is:

Brett Larsen, Executive Director of Human Resources

2407 LaPorte Avenue, Fort Collins, Co 80521

(970) 490-3620 

Reporting Obligations of Allegations of Sexual Harassment

Students, parents or guardians, and other non-employees who witness suspected sexual harassment are encouraged to report it immediately to a teacher or building administrator to assist the District’s sexual harassment prevention efforts.

When a District employee receives a report of alleged sexual harassment from any source, the District is deemed to have actual notice of the allegation. All District employees must notify the Title IX Coordinator of any reports of alleged sexual harassment they receive immediately when practical and not later than 24 hours following receipt of a report. All relevant information the District employee receives (names, dates, locations, and details) must be provided to the Title IX Coordinator. Such information can be provided to the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, via phone, or email, using the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information and can be made 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week via voicemail or email. When practicable, the details of the report to the Title IX Coordinator shall also be provided to the building principal.

Some conduct qualifying as sexual harassment (particularly conduct involving physical or sexual violence) may also qualify as child abuse or neglect, even when another child may be responsible for the abuse. Before undertaking their responsibilities under  an employee must determine whether observed or alleged conduct gives rise to reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or is occurring, triggering the employee’s mandatory reporting obligation under state law and District Policy AC-R1 - REPORTING DISCRIMINATION / DISTRICT RESPONSE TO DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS.  If at any point during the grievance process, an employee determine they have cause to believe child abuse or neglect has occurred or is occurring, the employee must immediately take steps necessary to satisfy the employee’s mandatory reporting obligations.

To report allegations of sexual harassment, please fill out the Sexual Harassment Incident Report..

Filing a Formal Complaint 

A document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX/Non-Discrimination Coordinator alleging sexual harassment by a respondent and requesting that the District investigate the allegation. 

In order to participate in the resolution process, a reporting party must submit a formal complaint.  Once a formal complaint has been submitted, the Title IX/Non-Discrimination Coordinator (or designee) will reach out to the reporting party to gather additional information and determine if the District has jurisdiction over the formal complaint.  The formal complaint must meet the following criteria in order to move onto the resolution process:

The allegation(s) meet the definition of sexual harassment as defined by District Regulation AC-R1.

At the time of filing the formal complaint, the Complainant is participating in or attempting to participate in the District’s educational program or activity.

The alleged conduct took place within the United States.

The District exercises control over the Respondent.

If the formal complaint does not meet the four criteria above, then the District may pursue the complaint under a different policy other than  District Regulation AC-R1.

To report allegations of sexual harassment, please fill out the Sexual Harassment Incident Report. 

 

Reporting to Federal or State Agency

In addition to, or as an alternative to, filing a discrimination/harassment complaint, a person may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, or the Colorado Civil Rights Division at the addresses below:

 

Office for Civil Rights-Denver Office 

U.S. Department of Education Federal Building

1244 Speer Boulevard, Suite 310

Denver, CO 80204-3582

Telephone: 303-844-5695

TDD: 303-844-3417

Fax: 303-844-4203

Email: OCR_Denver@ed.gov

 

Colorado Civil Rights Division

1560 Broadway, Suite 1050

Denver, CO 80202

Telephone: 303-894-2997 or 1-800-262-4845

Fax: 303-894-7830

TDD: 720-432-4294

Email: DORA_CCRDIntake@state.co.us

Resolution Process

Following the filing of a complaint, there are two available options for resolution: 1) an informal resolution, which involves a variety of informal options for addressing complaints; and, 2) the grievance process, which involves an investigation, report, and potential sanctions.

Informal Resolution: If both parties agree and the Title IX Coordinator deems it appropriate, an informal resolution process, which does not involve an investigation and may involve mediation or other restorative justice models, may be instituted. The parties’ agreement must be voluntary, non-coerced, and documented in writing. At any time prior to engaging in an informal resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint. Informal resolution is not available in cases where a District employee is alleged to have sexually harassed a student. An informal resolution may result in disciplinary sanctions appropriate for the misconduct which shall be imposed in accordance with applicable law and District Policy, including but not limited to a warning, restorative justice, and alternatives to suspension or expulsion.

Grievance Process: The grievance process is used to investigate and adjudicate formal complaints of sexual harassment as defined by Policy AC-R1 and Title IX in order to determine whether the policy has been violated. The process also determines the steps the District must take to address and correct a violation, which may include the imposition of disciplinary sanctions. Potential sanctions include a warning, restorative justice, alternatives to suspension or expulsion, suspension, expulsion, or termination. The grievance process is internal to the District and is not conducted by, or in concert with, law enforcement. The process determines whether District policy has been violated and not whether criminal law has been violated.

Phases of the Grievance Process

Once a formal complaint of sexual harassment is filed, the assigned investigator will send a written notice of the formal complaint to both parties. This notice includes process information, details regarding the allegation(s), and rights and responsibilities of the parties.

Phase 1: Notification of Formal Complaint

Following the filing of a formal complaint of sexual harassment as defined by Policy AC-R1, the assigned investigator sends a written notice of the formal complaint to both parties. This notice includes process information, details regarding the allegation(s), and rights and responsibilities of the parties.

Phase 2: Investigation

The investigator conducts party and witness interviews and gathers evidence related to the allegation(s). Such information may include documents, video and audio recordings, and electronic materials (texts, social media posts, emails, phone logs, etc.). During this phase of the process, the parties have the opportunity to provide information, evidence, and the names of witnesses to the investigator.

Phase 3: Evidence Review

At the end of the investigation, the parties are provided with all evidence directly related to the allegation(s). The parties have ten (10) work days to review and respond to the information. Any evidence that is not directly related to the investigation is not to be included in the investigation report; however, the investigator must document as to why the evidence is not directly related to the investigation.

Phase 4: Investigation Report

After the parties review and respond to the evidence, the investigator writes the investigation report. This report contains a summary of all relevant evidence gathered during the course of the investigation. Please note that relevant evidence is different than evidence directly related to the allegation(s). If the investigator does not deem all the evidence relevant, it may not be included in the investigation report. The investigator may also make suggested findings regarding the credibility of various accounts, the facts, and whether Policy AC-R1 was violated. Any suggested findings are not binding on the decision-maker. When completed, the investigator provides the investigation report to the decision-maker and the parties for review.

Phase 5: Investigation Report Review

The parties have ten (10) work days to review and respond to the investigation report. Any party responses are submitted to the decision-maker for consideration.

Phase 6: Opportunity to Ask Questions

The parties have the opportunity to submit questions for the other party, witnesses, or the investigator to the decision-maker. The decision-maker reviews the questions and those questions deemed relevant and appropriate are submitted for response. Any responses received are provided to the parties, and there is a limited opportunity for follow-up questions.

Phase 7: Written Determination

After considering the investigation report, the parties’ responses to the investigation report, and any responses to the questions, the decision-maker produces a written determination that includes findings of fact and a determination of whether Policy AC-R1 was violated. The written determination also contains recommended disciplinary sanctions if a violation is found and states whether any remedies will be provided to the complainant.

Phase 8: Appeal

If either party is not satisfied with the written determination, the party may appeal to the Superintendent or designee within five (5) work days following the written determination’s release. Appeals must be on the basis of 1) a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the grievance process; 2) new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding the existence of a policy violation was made that could affect the outcome of the grievance process; or 3) the Title IX  Coordinator, the investigator, or the decision-maker had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the grievance process. The Superintendent or designee may 1) affirm the written determination; 2) overturn the written determination; or 3) send the report back for additional investigation. The Superintendent’s decision is final.

Phase 9: Additional Sanctioning Steps and Final Notification

In the case of a violation of Policy AC-R1, after the report is final, any additional steps necessary to implement the recommended sanction(s) are taken. Written notification of the finalized sanction(s) is provided to both parties.

Rights of the Parties

Throughout the grievance process, each party is afforded several rights so they are able to participate. Each party has the right:

  • To Challenge the Appointment of Personnel: A party may challenge the participation of the appointed investigator or decision-maker based on bias or a conflict of interest by contacting the Title IX Coordinator.
  • To a Presumption of Non-Responsibility: Respondents are presumed not to have violated Policy AC -Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity. This presumption may be overcome only at the end of a resolution process if there is sufficient evidence of a policy violation.
  • To an Adviser of their Choosing: Each party is entitled to the adviser of their choice during all stages of a resolution process. This adviser may accompany the parties to all process-related meetings and interviews. This adviser may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. If a party wishes to bring an adviser to a meeting or interview, the party must notify the Title IX Coordinator or the assigned investigator or decision-maker at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the meeting or interview. The District retains the right to establish restrictions regarding the extent of how the advisor(s) may participate in the proceedings. Any restrictions on advisor(s) shall apply equally to both parties.
  • To Receive Written Notice of All Meetings:  Prior to any investigation interviews, hearings, or other meetings, each party shall receive written notice of the date, time, location, purpose, and participants to ensure each party is adequately prepared to participate.
  • Not to Participate: If a formal complaint proceeds to the grievance process, parties have the right not to participate or to choose to withdraw participation at any time. The investigator will not draw any adverse inferences from a decision by a respondent not to participate, but the investigation will continue, a violation may be found, and disciplinary sanctions may be imposed nonetheless.
  • To Inspect and Review Evidence: If a formal complaint proceeds through the Policy 8410 grievance process, prior to the release of any investigation report, the parties will have ten (10) work days to review and respond to all the evidence directly related to the allegation(s) collected during the investigation.
  • To Provide Truthful Information: The parties are expected to provide truthful information during any resolution process. Making a false report or complaint or knowingly giving false information during the course of the resolution process is prohibited and may be subject to discipline under applicable District policy. Information provided in good faith that is unsubstantiated by an investigation is not considered a false report.
  • (For Complainants) To Withdraw the Complaint: A complainant may, at any time after filing a formal complaint, withdraw the complaint by submitting a written request to the Title IX Coordinator. In certain circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that continued investigation of the complaint is necessary, but the complainant will not be required to participate. In all other cases, the withdrawal of a complaint will end the District’s resolution process and no further action will be taken.
  • (For Students Respondents) To Accept Responsibility: A student respondent may, at any time, request to pursue informal resolution in order to accept responsibility. If the complainant agrees and the Title IX Coordinator deems it appropriate, the matter will be resolved through the informal resolution process, which may involve restorative justice, mediation, or other options, including disciplinary sanctions. Informal resolution is not available to employee respondents.
  • To Receive Information about the Status of the Investigation:  The Title IX Coordinator will provide the parties with updates regarding the status of the investigative and adjudicative process. Each party will also receive written notification regarding the outcome of the investigation, any sanctions/disciplinary action imposed, and any appeal rights that may be available to each party.
  • To Be Protected Against Retaliatory Harassment: The District supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any person who alleges sexual harassment or who testifies, assists, or participates in a grievance process or any other proceeding relating to sexual harassment allegation(s) is prohibited and constitutes a potential violation of District policies. Parties are strongly encouraged to avoid engaging in behavior that could be perceived as retaliatory and immediately notify the Title IX Coordinator if they experience retaliation. Any individual affiliated with the District found to have engaged in retaliation is subject to disciplinary action.
  • To Communicate by District Email: All correspondence related to this formal complaint will be sent to a party’s District email address. If a party would like correspondence sent to another email, please notify the Title IX Coordinator.
  • To be informed about Potential Disciplinary Sanctions: If a Respondent is found responsible for violating any of the District’s policies, a designated administrator will assign sanction, considering whether a sanction (a) ends the harassment, (b) prevents its reoccurrence, and (c) remedy’s the effects of the violation.  Sanctions will depend on the nature of the conduct and any prior history of similar conduct.  The building administrator, in consultation with relevant District officials, shall determine appropriate disciplinary sanctions based on District policies and procedures.  Disciplinary sanctions may include (but are not limited to): a warning, alternatives to suspension or expulsion, suspension, expulsion, or termination. Students may also be subject to sanctions including suspension or expulsion for behaviors that occur off campus as described by law and District Policy JKDA/JKEA .
  • Not to be asked irrelevant questions about prior sexual history:  Commonly called "Rape Shield" protections, questions about a Complainant's prior sexual history will not be asked anytime during the grievance process.  The only time questions may be asked about a Complainant's prior sexual history are to 1) demonstrate that someone other than a respondent committed the alleged sexual harassment; or, 2) demonstrate consent based on specific incidents of a complainant's prior sexual behavior with a respondent.
  • Not Provide False Information:  Any person who knowingly makes a false report of sexual harassment shall be subject to disciplinary action under District Policy JKDA/JKEA .
  • Privacy and Confidentiality: The District respects the parties’ privacy. Reasonable efforts will be made to protect the privacy of participants in the resolution process in accordance with applicable law, while balancing the need to gather information and to take steps to eliminate sexual harassment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

Role of the Advisor

Complainants and Respondents who participate in a Title IX resolution process have the right to have one individual of their choosing to serve as their advisor throughout the resolution process. The right to an advisor is extended so that the Complainant and/or Respondent can identify someone that they want to assist them with navigating and understanding the investigation process as well as providing support throughout the process. It is recommended that an advisor not be someone who is a witness in the same matter. The investigator is the district-designated individual charged with conducting interviews, gathering evidence, and producing an investigation report. To fulfill their responsibilities and to protect the integrity of the investigation for both the Complainant and Respondent, the Investigator is interested in obtaining information directly from the Complainant and Respondent along with providing each party the opportunity to respond to information directly.  As a result, the role of an Advisor in an investigative interview or response to information gathered during the investigation is limited.

An Advisor May…

  • Accompany a Complainant or Respondent to any interview or meeting;
  • Assist a Complainant or Respondent in understanding and navigating the investigation process;
  • Seek clarification regarding the investigation process;
  • Ask procedural or process questions;
  • Support the Complainant or Respondent during the process; and,
  • Alert the Title IX Coordinator to any act of retaliation.  Any allegation of retaliation will be investigated separate than the initial complaint that was reported. 

An Advisor May Not…

  • Answer questions for or on behalf of a Complainant or Respondent in any interview;
  • Stand in for a Complainant or Respondent during interviews;
  • Act as or represent themselves as an investigator in the Title IX process;
  • Contact a witness or other party participating in the investigation process; or,
  • Impede the investigation process or act in a manner that obstructs the investigator or disrupts the investigation process.

Note: Advisors who act outside of their role may be excluded from resolution process.

Supportive Measures

"Supportive measures" mean non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, without fee or charge, to the complainant or respondent, before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the school, and other similar measures.

Where Can I Learn More

If you have questions or concerns regarding Title IX, please feel free to reach out to your school-based Title IX Coordinator. You may also contact the district Title IX Coordinator, Ruben Chacon or Miranda Bateman, PSD's SART Peers program coordinator and SAVA advocate. 

Ruben Chacón, Director of Student Services

1502 S Timberline Rd, Fort Collins, Co 80524

(970) 490-3033

 

Miranda Bateman, SART Peers Program Coordinator and SAVA Advocate

miranda@psdschools.org

1502 S Timberline Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80524

(970) 218-4519

For more information about Title IX, watch this 60 min webinar from the Association for Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) about Title IX and the most recent federal regulations. 

https://www.atixa.org/resources/r3-webinar_a-title-ix-introductory-webinar-for-k-12-schools-and-districts/

You may also view this 1hr 12 min webinar from the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights summarizing the new regulations under Title IX.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdfT5R8ibm4

Title IX Training Materials

The following training materials were used by the District’s Title IX Coordinator, Investigators, Decision-Makers, and/or Mandatory Reporters.  Listed training materials and a copy of the 2020 Title IX Regulations may be reviewed by scheduling an appointment with the District’s Title IX Coordinator at 970-490-3033 or rchacon@psdschools.org.  No copies will be made on site and the training materials may not leave the Education Support Center.

Final Title IX Regulations:

To review the Final Rules of Title IX please review the website at https://www.federalregister.gov/. If you would like to review a paper copy, please contact the District’s Title IX Coordinator.

Poudre School District:

All PSD Staff: Required Title IX Compliance Overview

Title IX is used to prevent discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds. Specifically, the law governs the way in which institutions must handle accusations of sexual harassment to ensure that investigations are transparent and fair. This course is designed to provide school staff with an overview of Title IX regulations to ensure that their school district is in compliance. Topics covered include the role of legal precedent, regulatory and subregulatory guidance related to Title IX; relevant terminology used in Title IX guidance; and guidelines school districts must follow to remain in compliance with the law.

PSD Required training for Title IX Coordinators, investigators, and decision-makers.

  • PSD Title IX Training Draft_v.1.pptx

Association of Title IX Administrators (“ATIXA”):

Cozen O’Connor Law Firm:

Institutional Compliance Solutions (“ICS”):

Colorado Department of Education ("CDE"):

Colorado School Districts Self Insurance Pool ("CSDSIP"):

School Board1

More info

Director of Student Services
Ruben Chacón
970.490.3033
rchacon@psdschools.org

 

 

 

 

    School Board2

    School Board

    Coordinators

    "Title IX Coordinator" means the employee designated by the District to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title IX responsibilities. The District's Title IX Coordinator is:

    Ruben Chacón, Director of Student Services, (970) 490-3033

    The PSD Deputy Title IX Coordinator for handling reports and complaints of unlawful discrimination/harassment against employees is:

    Brett Larsen, Executive Director of Human Resources, (970) 490-3620