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NEA opposes Ed Department’s proposed Title IX changes that ‘defy logic’

DeVos wants to deny students legal protections against sexual harassment in our K-12 schools


WASHINGTON - February 04, 2019 -

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest union representing more than 3 million educators, submitted comments this week to the Department of Education opposing Betsy DeVos’s proposed overhaul of Title IX protections against sexual harassment and assault in schools and college campuses. Most of the media attention on the Education Department’s proposed overhaul has focused on how colleges should adjudicate sexual assault allegations, with far less attention given to the profound impact these regulations would have on the 50 million children who attend K-12 schools. The proposed rules would mean that schools would not focus on protecting even our youngest students from sexual harassment, but instead would shield harassing behaviors and discourage reporting of harassment and assault.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“The Education Department is charged with protecting our students’ civil rights and ensuring that our schools are safe and inclusive for all students. But the proposed Title IX rules would actually direct K-12 schools to shield harassing behaviors and discourage young students from coming forward about sexual harassment and assault.

“Betsy DeVos is literally proposing regulations that would mean your six-year-old daughter would have to endure more extreme levels of harassment in school before she has a viable complaint under Title IX than an adult woman would have to tolerate in her office in order to have a similar claim for workplace harassment. The proposed changes to Title IX are shocking, offensive and defy logic.

“K-12 educators play a vital role in promoting the social, emotional and intellectual development of our youngest students. Educators are uniquely situated to disrupt the perpetuation of abusive behaviors and sex discrimination in school. We need policies that support educators as they work to foster healthy attitudes about sex and gender, and to help students build respectful relationships with peers during developmentally critical years.

“But Devos’s proposed rules do the exact opposite. They would deny schools the flexibility and incentives to prevent and address harassment early in age-appropriate ways. Instead, the rules would impose rigid procedural requirements for resolving harassment complaints. Classrooms are not courtrooms. The goal of our schools should be to protect our students who face sexual harassment and educate those who engage in it, not manage complicated adversarial proceedings that pit students against each other, re-victimize students who have faced harassment, and discourage other student survivors from coming forward.

“K-12 educators want policies that support their ability to develop inclusive, supportive and safe classroom environments that will have a positive and long-lasting impact on students through K-12 and into their postsecondary experiences and adulthood. Once again, the DeVos Education Department is failing our students and the educators committed to protecting them. The National Education Association will continue to advocate on behalf of students, educators and communities for the protections they deserve.”

                                      Follow on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @Lily_NEA

                          Keep up with the conversation on social media at #DeVosFail

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org

CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications
202-270-5333 cell, smaiers@nea.org


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