Title IX - Resources for Students and Parents

  • Portland Public Schools is dedicated to ensuring that all complaints of gender discrimination or harassment are handled promptly and fairly. The health and wellness of the school community are of paramount importance - if you experienced gender or sex-based discrimination or harassment, please report it to your school-based TIX coordinator (more info below) or to Safe Oregon.

    If you are in imminent danger, have recently been assaulted, and/or are in need of medical attention, please call 911. 

    Survivor Resources: Printable list of advocacy, support & crisis resources (Feb 2022)

    Male and non-binary survivors: Sexual assault can happen to anyone, no matter your age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Men and boys who have been sexually assaulted or abused may have many of the same feelings and reactions as other survivors of sexual assault, but they may also face some additional challenges because of social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity. Resources for male & non-binary survivors of sexual violence

    Confidential Advocacy (HS only): You do not have to go through this alone. We encourage PPS high school students of all genders who experience sexual harassment or assault, domestic or teen dating violence, and/or harassment based on gender identity or sexual orientation to connect with a confidential advocate as soon as you are able. Advocates are employed by two local non-profit agencies - Raphael House and VOA Homefree of Oregon. While they do not work for PPS, advocates work closely with school administrators and the TIX team and are familiar with PPS policies and procedures, including TIX investigations. As of 2022, every comprehensive high school has (at least) one advocate who holds office hours regularly. They are also available using the PPS student hotline - text or call 503.809.4357 anytime. Available in English and Spanish.

    Learn more about this unique, one-of-a-kind partnership by viewing the video below or printing the advocacy postcard here.

    SAFE - PROTECTED - RESPECTED


    How PPS Responds to Sexualized Behaviors or Harm at School

    In 2022, PPS introduced Title IX Leveled Responses & School Supports, a comprehensive system that offers a range of interventions to address challenging student behaviors. This innovative approach not only promotes a positive school climate but also creates transformative opportunities for students to develop their social-emotional skills. The underlying philosophy is that when we intervene early, we prevent a lot of harm that might otherwise occur - and as a learning organization, our primary role is to educate children.

    We fundamentally believe that when children are offered opportunities for learning by caring, trusted adults at school, they will naturally want to be positive and productive members of their school community. The district office supports this critically important work happening in our PPS schools by offering them a leveled, progressive framework that includes criteria for the level of response required and resources/interventions at every level.

    For Levels 1-3, the designated School-Based Coordinator manages and tracks the information at the school level (see FAQ SBCs). At Level 4, the district office will be notified, and the Compliance Manager will coordinate the response/investigation together with the SBC.

    Levels

    School-Based Title IX Coordinators (SBCs)

    Each year, the principal designates a building-based Title IX Coordinator. School-based Coordinators (SBCs) are the first level of intervention when gender-based harassment or discrimination of any kind is reported. As a learning organization, we aim to help students understand the expectations at school and how they may be different from other places they go outside of school. In most cases, the response may be educational, providing students with specific opportunities for learning, growth, and accountability. In some cases, like a serious incident (such as a sexual assault claim at school), an official investigation may begin. 
     
    2023-24 building-based Coordinators (list organized by grade level - use tabs at the bottom)
     
    The role of the School-Based Coordinator (SBC) is to:
    • Share basic TIX information with the school community about how to report and receive help
    • Promptly respond to reports of discrimination or harassment at school
    • Become informed on how TIX-leveled responses and school supports improve school climate (see more below)
    • Implement early interventions and skills-based education 
    • Monitor student interventions and progress
    • Apply district disciplinary procedures as appropriate
    • Collaborate with the district's TIX Office to respond to severe or persistent behaviors. 
    • Educate students, staff, and families about Title IX and SIRC rights and protections.
    • Connect students to resources.
    • Participate in professional learning opportunities.

    How Title IX Protects Students from Gender-based Harassment and Discrimination

    Elementary trifold; middle school trifold; high school trifold

    We understand that coming forward can be challenging, and we are committed to ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive appropriate support throughout this process.

    Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 ensures that every student can access their public education in an environment free from bias, harassment, or discrimination (of any kind).  While the text of the law has not changed since it was passed in 1972, the interpretation of the law has changed significantly in the decades since.

    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.

    The most recent substantive changes occurred in 2020 and remain in place today (the new, approved 2024 regulations must be in place by August 1, 2024). Title IX prohibits sexual harassment in PPS schools, programs, and school-sponsored activities. This includes: 1) engaging in unwelcome conduct that is severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, which denies a student equal access to education; 2) sexual assault; 3) dating violence; or 4) stalking or cyberstalking. Title IX discrimination also includes pregnancy or parenting status, sex-based discrimination in educational programs, and unequal athletic opportunities.
     
    *Oregon state law prohibits discrimination based on gender, gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The 2020 Title IX regulations (currently in place) removed protection for LGBTQ2SIA+ students. However, the 2024 changes to Title IX will bring back codified protection for gender-diverse students. In the interim, Oregon state law continues to protect LGBTQ2SIA+ members of our school communities.

    Support and advocacy available on the district's LGBTQ2SIA+ student support site

    Title IX parent presentation (2023)


    School-Based Investigations

    A school-based investigation is not the same type of investigation that police or a law enforcement agency would conduct. Schools can’t send anyone to jail so the standard of proof required differs. Unlike in criminal cases, where the standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt," school discipline only needs to meet the "preponderance of the evidence" standard, meaning it is "more likely than not." In school investigations, evidence is collected and reviewed. Questions are asked to determine the facts, and credibility assessments are made when perspectives differ significantly. A report or complaint made in “good faith” will not lead to adverse disciplinary action against the complainant. Additionally, parties may be granted amnesty for other code violations that arise during a Title IX investigation. This means that if students engage in activities that would otherwise be considered a violation of school policy, such as consuming alcohol or drugs, they will not be cited for doing so. This is to ensure students can report without fear of consequences or retaliation for doing so. 

    A school-based Title IX investigation seeks to find the facts and determine if there was a violation of Title IX or any other school policy. The investigation focuses on gathering evidence to establish what happened, ensuring that all parties can participate equally. Not every Title IX report will result in a formal investigation. Many factors are taken into consideration, such as whether the affected individual wishes to proceed or participate, the seriousness of the alleged incident or behavior, any threat to the safety of the school community, whether the report falls under the definition of Title IX, and if the alleged behavior took place at school or a school-related event or activity. Additionally, contextual and mitigating factors are considered when determining where to begin (ex: student's development, age, etc.).
     
    If the incident happens outside of school or school-related events/activities (such as athletics, school dance, clubs, etc.), the district may still investigate under another PPS policy. If no relevant policy applies, the district (or school) will provide safety or support measures for all students affected by the incident.
     

    Safety & Support at School (following an incident of harm)

    Students who have been affected by a behavior or incident covered by Title IX are entitled to receive interim supportive measures while the Title IX investigation is ongoing, and these measures implemented by a school in an educational environment are distinct from the measures adopted by law enforcement in criminal proceedings. The following are examples of the kinds of support that may be available if you were harmed by gender-based harassment at school: academic accommodations, temporary change of schedule, safety/support plan, campus escorts, and many more depending on the severity of the harm (see supportive measures).

    School discipline, consequences & accountability

    The most significant consequence a school can apply is suspension or expulsion for up to a year. Expulsion is extremely rare and is reserved for the most serious, dangerous, or persistent behaviors. If the report has information about a possible crime, the school administrator can talk to or refer the matter to the local police at the same time as the school's investigation. 

    PPS values related to discipline:

    1. School personnel and parents/caregivers are responsible for encouraging students' appropriate behavior.

    2. School personnel are expected to use a continuum of positive behavior interventions, strategies, and supports to teach, encourage, and reinforce appropriate behaviors conducive to a learning environment.

    3. School personnel are expected to intervene early and start the discipline process at the lowest possible level reasonably calculated to change the student’s behavior and minimize loss of instructional time.

    We developed the Title IX Leveled Responses & School Supports framework to provide a comprehensive approach to addressing sexually harassing, inappropriate, and boundary-crossing behavior among students. These challenging behaviors affect the classroom and school climate and cause harm to individual students and the school community. When proactive and preventative measures fail to address escalating behavior, or when a serious incident like sexual assault occurs, a disciplinary or expulsion hearing may be necessary. This does not mean that a student will be expelled. The goal is always to make resources available to students and their families when they are struggling to meet the expectations of school. In very rare instances, expulsion may be necessary.

    FAQ: Title IX & School Discipline


    Contact the Title IX Office

    Want more information but not sure where to start or who to ask? Our team consults with students, parents, staff, and community members. Give us a call, send an email, or follow us on Instagram at titleixpps

    Parents - check out the drop down menus below - these resources were gathered with you in mind!

    contact us


    Resources for PPS students & families organized by theme:

  • What to Do if your Child is Exposed to Pornography

  • Raising Kids to Respect Others

  • Social Media Guide for Parents

  • Training for Title IX Coordinators

  • Dept of Education Title IX Materials (2020)

  • Racism & Sexual Violence

  • SIRC - Information for Parents

  • Title IX: Bullying/Harassment Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender-Identity

  • Title IX: Sexual & Dating Violence, Consent & Healthy Relationships

  • Title IX: Pregnancy & Parenting Rights

  • Title IX: Protecting Kids (Child Sexual Abuse & Educator Sexual Misconduct)

  • Title IX Resources & Reading Room

  • SAFE (or SANE) Exams in Oregon (Rape Kit)

  • This webpage is a work-in-progress - send feedback or suggestions to lobanion@pps.net

  • report

    This report form is for matters involving PPS students. Reports regarding PPS employees should be directed to Human Resources.

     

     

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