Seattle Public Schools

Student Civil Rights

Title IX: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

About Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, often referred to as Title IX, is a Federal civil rights law.

Title IX, which began with a focus on discrimination and ensuring equity in sports, includes a major focus on prevention of and response to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

What is Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact against any individual by force or without consent; or when a person cannot give consent (under the age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc.).

Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior or communication that is sexual in nature when:

  • A student or employee is led to believe that he or she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct or communications in order to gain something in return, such as a grade, a promotion, a place on a sports team, or any educational or employment decision, or
  • The conduct substantially interferes with a student?s educational performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile educational or employment environment.

Sexual Harassment Occurs When:

  • Submitting to the harasser’s sexual demands is a stated or implied condition of obtaining a work or educational opportunity or other benefit; or
  • Submission to or rejection of sexual demands is a factor in a work, school, or other SPS-related decision affecting an individual; or
  • Unwelcome sexual or gender-directed conduct or communication interferes with an individual’s performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

This conduct may take many forms, including:

  • Making unwelcome, offensive or inappropriate sexually suggestive comments,
  • Gestures or jokes;
  • Standing too close,
  • Inappropriate touching,
  • Cornering, or stalking a person; or
  • Displaying offensive or inappropriate sexual illustrations on school property.

Know Your Rights

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

All public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving any Federal funds must comply with Title IX.

For a statement describing the rights and responsibilities of victims of sexual harassment or those who are the subject of complaints, contact your school office or read the rights and responsibilities handbook.

How to Get Help or File a Complaint

If you are not sure whether you should make a formal complaint, you can consult the Title IX coordinator at 206-252-0367 or The Title IX coordinator can help you decide if any action needs to be taken and how best to address your situation.

If you believe that you or an SPS student or staff member has been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, you can report the incident(s) to any school staff member or the district’s Title IX coordinator. Read more about how to file a complaint on the district’s How to Get Help or File a Complaint webpage.

Title IX Coordinator

The Seattle Public Schools’ Title IX coordinator must have knowledge of all Title IX requirements, the district’s policies and procedures on sex discrimination, and of all complaints throughout the district that raise Title IX Issues.

The Title IX coordinator’s core responsibilities include:

  • Tracking the district’s response to reports and complaints of sexual harassment
  • Determining the appropriate response and remedial actions
  • Identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems revealed by such reports and complaints.

Title IX Training