By Jane Meredith Adams
The U.S. Department of Education issued new guidance on Friday reminding K-12 school districts that, like colleges and universities, they also must have systems in place to address sexual harassment and ensure equal opportunities for male and female athletes.
Such systems are required under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The guidance comes against a backdrop of national concern about sexual assaults on college campuses. The Department has published a list of about 100 colleges it is investigating regarding how they have handled such complaints.
The federal guidance reiterates that school districts must designate a Title IX coordinator to inform students about their rights and instruct administrators about their responsibilities under the law. Key areas of compliance include ensuring equitable athletic opportunities for girls and boys, providing educational opportunities for pregnant and parenting teenagers, and addressing sex-based harassment.