High School Title IX Advisor – Arizona

We hear about college Title IX investigations all the time. For example, in March of 2020, the University of Arizona settled with a student physically abused by a Wildcats football player in 2016. The record-setting $1.275 million settlement resulted from allegations that Arizona knew about Orlando Bradford's violence towards women on campus more than six months before his arrest for more than a dozen domestic violence-related felonies.

Bradford is now serving a five-year prison sentence, and media outlets across the country reported on the arrest, conviction, and U of A's settlement with the victim. But what we don't see in the news are all of the high school Title IX complaints brought against students and staff every year in Arizona.

Title IX in Arizona High Schools

Title IX is a federal civil rights law enacted as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"). See 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq. Congress enacted the legislation to enforce gender equity in admissions, athletics, employment, and financial aid decisions at federally funded educations institutions in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination based on sex at all schools receiving federal funds, including K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.

In the more than 45 years since its passage, Title IX regulations and court cases have expanded to include sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence. Arizona high schools must investigate any Title IX allegations it knows about, even if no student or parent makes a complaint.

Arizona State Law 

Arizona law sets forth minimum administrative standards for high schools related to the suspension and expulsion of students. See A.R.S. § 15-840, et seq. Although Title 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes doesn't specifically address federal Title IX, Arizona law does discuss disciplinary procedures. Under Arizona law, the governing board of a school district, "in consultation with the teachers and parents of the school district, shall prescribe rules for the discipline, suspension, and expulsion of pupils." These rules must be "consistent with the constitutional rights of pupils" and include:

  • A notice and hearing procedure for cases where a student will face more than ten days of suspension
  • Procedures for readmitting a student who was expelled or suspended for more than ten days
  • Procedures for appealing to the governing board for a suspension of more than ten days
  • Procedures for appealing the recommendation of a hearing officer or officers
  • Advance notice to a parent before a school expels a student.

See A.R.S. § 15-843.

Arizona's law also provides open hearings in certain circumstances and permits parents and attorneys to have access to the transcripts of any closed executive sessions. Although Arizona's student discipline legislation doesn't specifically address Title IX regulations, Arizona law can still impact Arizona high school procedures for disciplinary hearings and investigations under Title IX.

New Title IX Regulations for Arizona

New Title IX regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education in May of 2020 will change how Arizona high schools implement Title IX investigations and hearings. For the first time, the regulations delineate what K-12 schools must do with sexual assault cases that involve students. While many colleges and universities already have Title IX offices and, in some cases, multiple employees handling the work, most high schools do not. As a result, some smaller schools and school districts may need to hire additional Title IX staff.

Under the new rules, high schools must internally address sexual abuse allegations, even if law enforcement doesn't pursue an investigation or criminal charges. Following the report of an incident of sexual harassment or assault, the school must notify all parents of the students involved. Schools must also notify parents of the evidence they gather and give the accused student ten days to respond to the allegations. If the school decides to punish a student due to Title IX sexual assault allegations, it must notify the victim in writing.

The new regulations also require that:

  • High schools investigate whenever any district employee learns about an incident of potential sexual assault or sexual harassment. Employees include teachers, guidance counselors, bus drivers, and other staff members.
  • Schools keep written records of Title IX actions for at least seven years.
  • The arbiter of any Title IX administrative hearing or decision cannot be the same person who investigates the Title IX claim, allowing the decider to remain neutral. This rule may mean that many high schools will need to hire and train additional Title IX staff.
  • High schools must also investigate off-campus incidents related to school activities, such as those that occur at athletic events, field trips, or conferences.
  • Schools must have options for reporting incidents that may fall under Title IX, including verbally, by phone, by email, and in writing.
  • Anyone can report an incident, including parents, students, sexual assault survivors, friends, and bystanders.

While the final DOE regulations removed some of the more controversial provisions, like live hearings and cross-examination of witnesses, schools may provide for these under their policies and procedures. The new regulations take effect on August 14, 2020.

Changing the Definition of Sexual Harassment

One of the more significant changes in the new Title IX regulations concerns the definition of sexual harassment. The new regulations narrow the definition to include:

  1. Any instance of quid pro quo harassment by a school's employee;
  2. Any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access;
  3. Any instance of sexual assault (as defined in the Cle1y Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Title IX regulations mandate that Arizona high schools dismiss allegations that don't meet this new sexual harassment standard, but schools may still choose to investigate them as violates of Arizona law or school conduct policies. There is nothing in Title IX regulations prohibiting Arizona schools from providing more due process to students than that required under the new rules.

Keeping Arizona High Schools Accountable

If you or your high school student are facing a Title IX investigation or disciplinary proceeding in Arizona, you need to consult an experienced Title IX advisor as soon as possible. You need an advisor who can protect your student's due process rights and understand the nuanced relationships between federal Title IX laws and school procedures under state law. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has many years experience defending students and staff in school disciplinary proceedings at schools across the country. He has resolved hundreds of cases through both negotiation and the disciplinary hearing process. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-555-3686 or contact us through the online form.

Arizona high schools where Joseph D. Lento can help as your child's student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following school districts:

A

  • Agua Fria Union High School District #216
  • Aguila Elementary School District #63
  • Ajo Unified School District #15
  • Alhambra Elementary School District #68
  • Alpine Elementary School District #7
  • Altar Valley Elementary School District #51
  • Amphitheater Public Schools #10
  • Antelope Union High School District #50
  • Apache Junction Unified School District #43
  • Arlington Elementary School District #47
  • Ash Creek Elementary School District #53
  • Ash Fork Joint Unified School District #31
  • Avondale Elementary School District #44

B

  • Bagdad Unified School District #20
  • Balsz Elementary School District #31
  • Beaver Creek Elementary School District #26
  • Benson Unified School District #9
  • Bicentennial Union High School District #76
  • Bisbee Unified School District #2
  • Blue Ridge Unified School District #32
  • Bonita Elementary School District #16
  • Bouse Elementary School District #26
  • Bowie Unified School District #14
  • Buckeye Elementary School District #33
  • Buckeye Union High School District #201
  • Bullhead City Elementary School District #15

C

  • Camp Verde Unified School District #28
  • Canon Elementary School District #50
  • Cartwright Elementary School District #83
  • Casa Grande Elementary School District #4
  • Casa Grande Union High School District #82
  • Catalina Foothills Unified School District #16
  • Cave Creek Unified School District #93
  • Cedar Unified School District #25
  • Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology
  • Chandler Unified School District #80
  • Chevelon Butte School District #5
  • Chinle Unified School District #24
  • Chino Valley Unified School District #51
  • Clarkdale-Jerome Elementary School District #3
  • Clifton Unified School District
  • Cobre Valley Institute of Technology District
  • Cochise Elementary School District #26
  • Coconino Association for Vocation Industry and Technology
  • Colorado City Unified School District #14
  • Colorado River Union High School District #2
  • Concho Elementary School District #6
  • Congress Elementary School District #17
  • Continental Elementary School District #39
  • Coolidge Unified School District #21
  • Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary School District #6
  • Crane Elementary School District #13
  • Creighton Elementary School District #14
  • Crown King Elementary School District #41

D

  • Deer Valley Unified School District #97
  • Double Adobe Elementary School District #45
  • Douglas Unified School District #27
  • Duncan Unified School District #2
  • Dysart Unified School District #89

E

  • Eagle Elementary School District
  • East Valley Institute of Technology
  • Elfrida Elementary School District #12
  • Eloy Elementary School District #11
  • Empire School District #37
  • Esperanza Academy Accommodation School District

F

  • Flagstaff Unified School District
  • Florence Unified School District #1
  • Flowing Wells Unified School District #8
  • Forrest Elementary School District
  • Fort Thomas Unified School District #7
  • Fountain Hills Unified School District #98
  • Fowler Elementary School District #45
  • Fredonia-Moccasin Unified School District

G

  • Gadsden Elementary School District #32
  • Ganado Unified School District #20
  • Gila Bend Unified School District #24
  • Gila Institute for Technology
  • Gilbert Public Schools
  • Glendale Elementary School District #40
  • Glendale Union High School District #205
  • Globe Unified School District #1
  • Grand Canyon Unified School District #4

H

  • Hackberry School District #3
  • Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District #41
  • Heber-Overgaard Unified School District #6
  • Higley Unified School District #60
  • Hillside Elementary School District #35
  • Holbrook Unified School District #3
  • Humboldt Unified School District #22
  • Hyder Elementary School District #16

I

  • Indian Oasis-Baboquivari Unified School District #40
  • Isaac School District #5

O

  • O. Combs Elementary School District #44
  • Joseph City Unified School District #2

K

  • Kayenta Unifed School District #27
  • Kingman Unified School District #20
  • Kirkland Elementary School District #23
  • Klondyke Elementary School District
  • Kyrene Elementary School District #28

L

  • Lake Havasu Unified School District #1
  • Laveen Elementary School District #59
  • Liberty Elementary School District #25
  • Litchfield Elementary School District #79
  • Littlefield Unified School District #9
  • Littleton Elementary School District #65

M

  • Madison Elementary School District #38
  • Maine Consolidated Elementary School District #10
  • Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District #8
  • Marana Unified School District #6
  • Maricopa County Regional District #509
  • Maricopa Unified School District
  • Mary C. O'Brien Accommodation School District
  • Mayer Unified School District #43
  • McNary Elementary School District #23
  • McNeal Elementary School District #55
  • Mesa Public Schools #4
  • Miami Unified School District #40
  • Mingus Union High School District #4
  • Mobile Elementary School District #86
  • Mohave Valley Elementary School District #16
  • Mohawk Valley Elementary School District #17
  • Morenci Unified School District
  • Morristown Elementary School District #75
  • Mountain Institute Joint Technology Education District
  • Murphy Elementary School District #21

N

  • Naco Elementary School District #23
  • Nadaburg Elementary School District #81
  • Nogales Unified School District #1
  • Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education
  • Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology

O

  • Oracle Elementary School District #2
  • Osborn Elementary School District #8
  • Owens-Whitney Elementary School District #6

P

  • Page Unified School District #8
  • Palo Verde Elementary School District #49
  • Paloma Elementary School District #94
  • Palominas Elementary School District #49
  • Paradise Valley Unified School District #69
  • Parker Unified School District #27
  • Patagonia Elementary School District #6
  • Patagonia Union High School District #20
  • Payson Unified School District #10
  • Peach Springs Unified School District #8
  • Pearce Elementary School District #22
  • Pendergast Elementary School District #92
  • Peoria Unified School District #11
  • Phoenix Elementary School District #11
  • Phoenix Union High School District #210
  • Picacho Elementary School District #33
  • Pima County Joint Technological Education District
  • Pima Unified School District #6
  • Pine-Strawberry Elementary School District #12
  • Piñon Unified School District #4
  • Pomerene Elementary School District #64
  • Pendergast School District #92
  • Prescott Unified School District #1

Q

  • Quartzsite Elementary School District #4
  • Queen Creek Unified School District #95

R

  • Ray Unified School District #3
  • Red Mesa Unified School District #27
  • Red Rock Elementary School District #5
  • Redington School District #44
  • Riverside School District #2
  • Roosevelt Elementary School District #66
  • Round Valley Unified School District #10

S

  • Sacaton Elementary School District #18
  • Saddle Mountain Unified School District #90
  • Safford Unified School District #1
  • Sahuarita Unified School District #30
  • Saint David Unified School District #21
  • Salome Consolidated Elementary School District #30
  • San Carlos Unified School District #20
  • San Fernando Elementary School District #35
  • San Simon Unified School District #18
  • Sanders Unified School District #18
  • Santa Cruz Elementary School District
  • Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District #35
  • Santa Cruz Valley Union High School District #840
  • Scottsdale Unified School District #48
  • Sedona-Oak Creek Joint Unified School District #9
  • Seligman Unified School District #40
  • Sentinel Elementary School District #71
  • Show Low Unified School District #10
  • Sierra Vista Public Schools District #68
  • Skull Valley Elementary School District #15
  • Snowflake Unified School District #5
  • Solomon Elementary School District #5
  • Somerton Elementary School District #11
  • Sonoita Elementary School District #25
  • Johns Unified School District #1
  • Stanfield Elementary School District #24
  • Sunnyside Unified School District #12
  • Superior Unified School District #15

T

  • Tanque Verde Unified School District #13
  • Tempe Elementary School District #3
  • Tempe Union High School District #213
  • Thatcher Unified School District #4
  • Tolleson Elementary School District #17
  • Tolleson Union High School District #214
  • Toltec Elementary School District #22
  • Tombstone Unified School District #1
  • Tonto Basin Elementary School District #33
  • Topock Elementary School District #12
  • Tuba City Unified School District #15
  • Tucson Unified School District #1

U

  • Union Elementary School District #62

V

  • Vail School District #20
  • Valentine Elementary School District #22
  • Valley Union High School District #22
  • Vernon Elementary School District #9

W

  • Walnut Grove Elementary District
  • Washington Elementary School District #6
  • Wellton Elementary School District #24
  • Wenden Elementary School District #19
  • West-Mec - Western Maricopa Education Center
  • Whiteriver Unified School District #20
  • Wickenburg School District #9
  • Willcox Unified School District #13
  • Williams Unified School District #2
  • Wilson Elementary School District #7
  • Window Rock Unified School District #8
  • Winslow Unified School District #1

Y

  • Yarnell Elementary School District #52
  • Young Elementary School District #5
  • Yucca Elementary School District #13
  • Yuma Elementary School District #1
  • Yuma Union High School District #70

It is critical to make certain the Title IX investigation at your child's Arizona high school is handled properly and that the accused student's interests and rights are protected from as early as possible during the sexual misconduct investigative process.  One major reason is because even at high schools where a finding of responsibility for sexual misconduct charges is made at a hearing, the investigation will set the stage for what the hearing panel is provided prior to a hearing (and what the hearing panel will in large part rely on at a hearing), and at high schools where the finding of responsibility is made solely through the investigative process, what takes place during the investigation itself will determine whether the accused student is found responsible or not responsible for Title IX charges.

Unfortunately, some parents make the mistake of not taking the necessary precautions as soon as possible when accused of sexual misconduct.  Some people will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," their school will be fair and impartial and will arrive at the truth.  In a perfect world this may be the case, but in a perfect world, sexual misconduct allegations and Title IX charges would not exist.

Fighting passionately for the future of his clients at schools throughout the nation for many years, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that an accused high school student's academic future is on the line. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX attorney advisor to high school students facing sexual misconduct investigations and disciplinary cases in Arizona and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National High School Title IX Attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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