Betsy DeVos' New Title IX Rules Will Shake Up How K-12 Schools Handle Sexual Harassment

The overhaul of campus sexual assault regulations will ramp up the paperwork schools must do to comply with Title IX

In this May 24, 2017, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, left, joined by Education Department Budget Service Director Erica Navarro, testifies before the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing on the Education Department's fiscal 2018 budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

New regulations released Wednesday by the Education Department will change how K-12 schools respond to students' reports of sexual assault and harassment, requiring administrators to more formally investigate claims and share the evidence with accused students and their parents, NBC News reports.

The long-awaited rules, which apply to colleges as well as K-12 schools, mark the first time the department has established regulations under the gender equity law Title IX detailing what schools must do when dealing with sexual assault cases involving students.

Under the new regulations, after a student reports an assault or a harassment incident covered by Title IX, the school must tell the students involved and their parents in writing about the allegations and the evidence that is gathered. The school must also give the accused person at least 10 days to respond. If the school decides to punish a student for a sexual assault allegation, it must tell the victim in writing, something many schools had previously resisted doing.

In another change, the person who investigates a sexual assault case under Title IX cannot be the same person who decides whether the accused student is responsible — which means schools may need to hire or train additional staff.

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