Monday, August 04, 2014

Seattle Schools and Title IX

I asked the Department of Education spokeperson about issues around Title IX and Seattle Schools and here was their statement:

We can confirm that OCR is currently investigating a Title IX sexual violence case involving the Seattle Public Schools. As this is an open investigation, we cannot share any additional information. For more on how OCR handles civil rights complaints, please see our Web site here.

The Department would not comment on any other Title IX investigations involving Seattle Public Schools. 


ConcernedSPSParent said...

Will the investigation cover why the district did not have a fully trained Title IX officer to guide them?.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm sure that will figure into it.

mirmac1 said...

Thank you for this info Melissa.

Anonymous said...

The text of the OCR complaint appears here, posted on July 16


Ed said...

Finding a "trained" "officer" to "guide" anyone at SSD will take a federal investigation.


Charlie Mas said...

The Title IX officer for Seattle Public Schools was Paul Apostle.

As the Title IX officer, it was his duty to take charge of the investigation and to assure compliance with Title IX. Mr. Apostle did nothing. He was not involved in the incident response in any way. He took no action.

Think that's bad? There were audit findings that noted that Mr. Apostle was unaware of his responsibilities as the Title IX Officer. These audit findings went un-addressed. Even after the incident the audit findings went un-addressed. Even after the Board Audit and Finance Committee were made aware of the audit findings, they went un-addressed.

Think it can't get any worse than that? Mr. Apostle is no longer with the District. But he is still the Title IX Officer. Another Title IX Officer has not yet been appointed. Mr. Apostle said it would take him two years to learn his responsibilities under Title IX. He was about a year and a half into that timeframe when he retired. Will the new Title IX Officer learn the duties any faster? Are we still over two years away from having a Title IX Officer who will bother to take the hour or so it would require to learn the duties of that role?

Charlie Mas said...

Seriously. Call the District right now and ask who is the Title IX Officer and they will say "Paul Apostle". Ask to speak with Mr. Apostle and they will tell you that he is no longer working there.

So who is the Title IX Officer? There isn't one. The superintendent failed to appoint a successor to Mr. Apostle when he retired. Because, you know, they take that Title IX stuff so seriously.

Ed said...

Banda was busy starting an "Ethics" program on his (and Apostle"s) way out the door.

Ironic huh?

Anonymous said...

We were told that Paul Apostle's responsibilities were turned over the general counsel, Ron English. Title IX's Dear Colleague letter specifically states that the Title IX officer and the General Counsel may not be the same person because it constitutes a a conflict of interest.


Charlie Mas said...

New Title IX Officers have been appointed. There are two of them. They are Brent Jones and Larry Dorsey.

I hope they don't take two years to learn their responsibilities.

Anonymous said...


Per the website, new/old head of HR Brent Jones (he was head of HR for awhile during the Goodloe-Johnson era, has cycled through Kent SD and a few other jobs in the meanwhile, I give him a year or less) is the Title IX Officer. Larry Dorsey, a long time Security staff member who has moved up concurrent with Pegi McEvoy moving up (and a decent guy) is the RCW 28A.640 Officer. That is the state sex equity/sexual harassment statute, whichever isn't the same as Title IX. It is weird to split up the two laws between two different people, especially because the latter involves human resource functions and it more commonly handled by the head of HR. In looking at the student HIB procedure, I think Mr. Dorsey is actually the HIB Compliance Officer (also required by law, RCW 28A.300). But who knows if SPS can't get the website right or doesn't fundamentally know the difference between these laws and roles. My bet is both.


mirmac1 said...

Brent Jones, my foggy memory recalls his enthusiasm for either MAP or TFA. Take your pick. I was happy he left at the time....

Anonymous said...

Someone may want to consult Title IX's Dear Colleague letter. I remember that the general counsel and the Title IX officer cannot be the same person. When we appealed to the Title IX officer, Paul Apostle, to do his job, he abdicated responsibility to Ron English, General Counsel. Title IX specifically says the Title IX officer and the general counsel cannot be the same person, as it's a conflict of interest. We reported this to the US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights. Something to bear in mind for other possible conflicts.

The Seattle District was completely ignorant of its Title IX responsibilities and failed to implement them when our family member was raped. Schools must implement Title IX the moment they know that sexual harassment has occurred. They must act, even without a complaint.

In the case of our family, the District knew a rape occurred the morning of the assault, but all they "did" was to deny the victim's report, along with the report by a mother that her daughter witnessed a rape (this report discovered in District's records). Instead, the District privileged the assailant's story instead of implementing Title IX procedures. The Title IX officer was to have immediately reached out to the victim, the principal was to have informed the victim of the assailant's emergency exclusion so the victim could return to school, and a prompt, substantive, and equitable investigation was to commence. None of this happened. That's why the Federal Government is investigating the District for failure to comply with Title IX. Federal funding depends on Title IX compliance.

What actions has the District's Title IX officer taken in the District in other instances of sexual harassment/violations of Title IX? Was he paid to do nothing? Why did he do nothing?

Mrs. Miller

Anonymous said...

He was paid (an exhorbenent amount, ie 190k) to be the head of HR. I am sure he never handled anything as the Title IX Officer because I don't think SPS understood anything about Title IX other than individual Atheltic Directors and the District AD having some knowledge about gender equity in sports. Mr. Apostle struggled to get anything done in HR. That is why he got the opportunity to resign/retire. He had no business taking on Title IX and that SPS puts that role on the head of HR versus someone who has a role overseeing student welfare shows the overall ignorance. Honestly, the Pegy McEvoy when she was in her prior role would have been a great Title IX Officer. Most school districts have their HIB Compliance Officer and Title IX Officer be the same person because harassment based on sex fall under both and the investigation and support obligations are similar.


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