Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Title IX: keep schools accountable and keep students safe

Alison Hernandez

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Students are no strangers to stories of sexual harassment or even various forms of sexual assault that happen on campus.

Older students might even remember the texts that were issued out every couple weeks to report a new incident, or the stories of incidents that happened on other campuses that made it onto the news.

There is a federal law in place that’s meant to protect students from discrimination based on sex in places that receive federal funding such as schools called Title IX.

A key part of Title IX is the protection from sexual harassment and the procedures Obama had placed on how schools should handle cases of sexual assault.

However, back in September, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that she and her department had concerns that the previous guidance didn’t give the accused proper due process.

The Trump administration rescinded many of Obama’s guidance, the only one that remains is the school’s responsibility to investigate instead of leaving the matter to law enforcement.

Obama may have overstepped by putting his own procedures for how schools should handle sexual assault but it’s a matter that does need to be federally regulated.

Schools should not be allowed to make their own individual procedures for how they should handle sexual assault.

If each school is allowed to make up their own guidelines there will be not consistency. There will be no way to keep schools from being too lax or to keep schools from being too strict.

If a school is too lax people who are falsely accused may end up wrongfully convicted or a rapist may go free and be allowed to continue to roam around campus.

If a school is too strict it may be too difficult in order for a victim to provide enough evidence to convict the one who assaulted them and then another abuser will be free to roam around campus.

Sexual assault of any kind is a serious crime and should be treated as such, the accused must get due process because that’s the law but victims should also rest assured that they will be protected and that their abuser will be punished.

It is a school’s duty to protect and provide its students with a safe environment and it’s its job to make things right when it has failed to do so, but there must be a standard.

There has to be a set standard that is regulated so that the schools can be held accountable if it fails to make things right for its students as well.

Courts are not allowed to make up their own procedures for how they handle court cases so neither should schools when it comes to something as serious as sexual harassment and assault.

If the only problem people had with the old guidance was Obama overstepping his role as president, then fine take it away, but they better start working on new rules that must be followed by all schools and that put the students’ safety and well being first.

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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.
Title IX: keep schools accountable and keep students safe