U.S. Department of Education Closes Sexual Harassment Review of Redlands Unified School District

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) made an announcement today that the Redlands Unified School District in California has reached an agreement to address violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 related to responses to sexual assault and sexual harassment reports by students.

Upon investigation, OCR found that the district lacked a monitoring system to ensure compliance with Title IX and address emerging patterns of incidents. In 74% of cases reviewed over three years, the district did not show evidence of taking necessary actions to address and prevent harassment’s effects on students.

Furthermore, OCR discovered that the district neglected to investigate or address allegations of sexual assault between employees and students or among students after reporting them to authorities. This failure exposed affected students to discrimination prohibited by Title IX but not addressed by law enforcement. The district also did not complete required investigative steps in other reported cases.

For instance, a student reported witnessing a year-long sexual relationship between an employee and another student, involving the exchange of explicit photos on social media. While the district confirmed the relationship, it did not determine if it constituted harassment, allowing the employee to resign without investigating the potential hostile environment created for the affected students.

OCR noted concerns about the district’s recordkeeping system from 2017-18 to 2019-20 not meeting Title IX regulations. Discrepancies were found in the reported number of sexual assaults for the CRDC and compliance review, indicating a lack of compliance with the regulations in place.

In response, the district committed to addressing the Title IX violations and compliance issues identified by OCR in a resolution agreement to ensure gender discrimination-free school environments.

Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon stated, “The Redlands Unified School District failed to fulfill its Title IX obligations to promptly and effectively respond to reported sexual assaults by employees and students. The commitments made today aim to provide these students the safe learning environment guaranteed by federal law.”

The resolution agreement includes measures such as coordinating Title IX compliance, informing stakeholders about designated coordinators, assessing anti-discrimination efforts, revising policies, training staff and students on identifying and reporting harassment, improving recordkeeping, conducting climate surveys, and reviewing case files for reported incidents.

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