- Estes Park School District R-3
- Title IX General Information
Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity Complaint Process
About Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972: 20 U.SC § 1681 & 34.C.F.R. Part 106
“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 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.
EPSD Title IX Policies
- AC: Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity
- AC-R-1: Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity (Complaint and Compliance Process)
- AC-R-2: Sexual Harassment Investigation Procedures (Title IX)
- AC-E-1: Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity
- AC-E-2: Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity (Complaint Form) – Exhibit
- JBB*: Sexual Harassment
What issues are covered under Title IX?
- Athletic Opportunities and Benefits
- Pregnant or Parenting Students
- Single Sex Classes and Schools
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.
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 District policy.
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, 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.
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-R-1.
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-R-1.
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
Colorado Civil Rights Division
1560 Broadway, Suite 1050
Denver, CO 80202
Telephone: 303-894-2997 or 1-800-262-4845
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.