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NEA President: Final Title IX rule is shocking, offensive, and defies logic

Rule will discourage survivors from reporting assaults, making schools and campuses more dangerous


WASHINGTON - May 06, 2020 -

The U.S. Department of Education today issued its long-awaited Title IX final rule changes. In a 12-page letter to Secretary Betsy DeVos sent in January 2019, the National Education Association, on behalf of its more than three million members, outlined the numerous ways in which the changes would adversely affect students and public education. More than 100,000 educators and advocates contacted the federal department to oppose the proposed rule.

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

“The Title IX rule Secretary Betsy DeVos finalized today is shocking, offensive and defies logic. The final rule weakens the federal enforcement of Title IX protections against sexual assault and other forms of sexual harassment in schools and on campuses. Moreover, true to form, Secretary Betsy DeVos woefully ignored the voices of not only educators from public schools and higher education institutions, but also those of students who wrote to her about the chilling effect the proposed changes would have. The effect of this final regulation is to say that a 6-year-old girl now must 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 to have a similar claim for workplace harassment.

“More to the point, the final rule means fewer survivors will report their assaults and harassment, schools and campuses will be more dangerous, and more students will be denied their legal right to equal access to education after experiencing assault and harassment. Educators across the country are appalled. It is particularly egregious that the rule would come out during a global pandemic, requiring schools to figure out how to implement complex new policies while operating with already sharply limited resources. Student safety and well-being should come first, particularly when school closures have impacted more than 90% of K-12 schools and millions of students. This rule not only adds an additional burden to schools, but it actually makes our schools less safe for all students and undermines the basic values of equality, equity, safety, and respect that we teach our students every day.

“Educators are calling for 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, Betsy DeVos 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.”

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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:
Miguel A. Gonzalez
2020 202-491-9532
mgonzalez@nea.org