How The School Is Failing to Enforce Title IX

Title IX is a federal law which states, “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 education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Public schools, such as Allderdice, have to fulfill certain requirements that Title IX mandates because they are funded by the government. The PPS website lists many of these requirements on their page on the district’s sexual harassment policy. Based on this sexual harassment policy, schools in the PPS district must hold at least one assembly and two class periods a year discussing this policy with students and each PE/Health teacher must discuss it within the first week of every school year. In addition, every teacher and counselor, as well as an administrator must instruct students on how to report sexual harassment as needed. 

These requirements and several others, such as giving parents and students copies of the district’s policy, were adopted by the PPS district in May of 1995, yet it seems that Taylor Allderdice has yet to adopt any of these policies. In my three years at Taylor Allderdice, I have participated in zero assemblies, classes, or discussions about the district’s sexual harassment policy outside of the school’s Feminist Student Union (FSU). Despite the fact that Allderdice is legally required on a federal and district level to enforce these actions in its school, it has not. The fact that the administrators of Allderdice are so unconcerned about violating these laws brings an uncomfortable question to light: If it’s so easy for schools to avoid enforcing these policies then what other schools in the district aren’t following them, and why doesn’t the school board know about this? 

There are very real consequences for the students of Allderdice from these actions. It allows for the perpetuation of an already-toxic culture around sexual harassment that currently exists in America. Without properly educating people about sexual harassment, the system keeps potential victims from understanding that they have been harassed, potentially making students who have been harassed feel that they have no place to go. By not providing a helpful support system for these victims of sexual harassment in our school, Allderdice keeps many students from being able to feel that school is a safe and welcoming place for them.  

Not only is a lack of enforcement of proper sexual harassment dangerous for potential victim, but is also an insufficient method of punishment for assailants of these crimes. By not properly punishing kids for sexual harassment or taking time out of the school year to explain why it has no place in school, consciously or not, it perpetuates the idea that sexual harassment isn’t that big of a deal and can make assailants feel like there are no consequences for these harmful actions. 

For the above reason, the FSU is trying to bring attention to the lack of proper enforcement of Title IX. Throughout this year, we hope to ensure that the Allderdice begins to enforce the practices the PPS website says it should be doing to address sexual harassment. The FSU is committed to making Allderdice a safe and welcoming place for all students, and we hope that, if you are as angered by the fact that we are currently being denied a right given to us by the government, we will see you at the next meeting on Wednesday in room 386.