At MVP Law, educational institutions have long been a part of our history. Since the early days, MVP has represented school districts throughout Kansas and the surrounding states. As with any public entity, there are many rules and regulations that affect how school districts and public universities must structure their processes to ensure the best possible learning environment for all children. Nearly 50 years ago, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 was signed into law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program that is federally funded. While the general basis of Title IX is known by many, there are many complexities that require a thorough understanding of the Statute. At MVP, attorney Ryan Walkiewicz has completed additional certifications and trainings about Title IX to better serve our clients, especially as new regulations will be going into effect this fall.
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education issued final regulations for educational institutions, including K-12 school districts, related to their legal obligations under Title IX. These new regulations will take effect on August 14 and will require schools to update their Title IX process and ensure that training is in place to meet the new requirements. Some of the changes under the final regulations include a new definition of sexual harassment for use with Title IX. For K-12 school districts, they will now be required to respond whenever any employee has notice of sexual harassment, including allegations of sexual harassment. It will be important for K-12 districts to provide sufficient training to all employees regarding their obligation to report and the process for doing so.
The new regulations also detail the requirements for the grievance and investigative process. All schools will need to make sure that their investigative procedures remain compliant and free from any bias or conflict of interest. For postsecondary institutions, a significant change includes the requirement for a live hearing that allows for each party to have an advisor that may cross-examine the other party and any witnesses that are presented. The new regulations are over two thousand pages and it will be important for schools to familiarize themselves with the changes in order to remain compliant with their obligation to respond promptly and fairly to claims of sex discrimination.
MVP is proud to announce that Ryan Walkiewicz is a certified Civil Rights Investigator through the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA). This certification allows Ryan to act as an investigator in complaints made under Title IX for educational institutions. He has also received the training certification for Title IX Coordinators and Administrators.
Ryan works with Title IX coordinators and Title IX teams from school districts to ensure that they are meeting their obligations under Title IX and promoting gender equity in school settings. In addition, he has worked with school districts on investigations and compliance under Title VI. On a number of occasions, Ryan has served as an outside investigator and conducted investigations into complaints made under Title IX.
Examples of our Title IX experience include:
- Providing training sessions on topics including sexual harassment, reporting requirements, and conducting investigations.
- Developing an annual mandatory training program for the Kansas Department of Education
- Serving as a certified outside investigator into complaints made under Title IX
- Reviewing, advising, and developing Title IX processes for K-12 school districts
- Collaborating with Human Resources to determine the correct process for investigations involving employees
If you would like to set up training or need assistance with review of policy and procedure, investigations or representation, please contact Ryan Walkiewicz
Disclaimer and warning: This information was published by McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, P.A., and is to be used only for general informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. This is not inclusive of all exceptions and requirements which may apply to any individual claim. It is imperative to promptly obtain legal advice to determine the rights, obligations and options of a specific situation.