High School Title IX Advisor - Washington

While many people in Washington have heard of "Title IX," they may not fully understand what it is or how it works in Washington schools. We often hear about sexual assault investigations on college campuses, but Title IX applies to any federally funded educational institutions, including K-12 schools. Parents of high school students should become familiar with new Title IX regulations that take effect on August 14, 2020, and Washington law that already guides state high school disciplinary proceedings.

How Does Title IX Affect Washington High Schools? 

Title IX is a federal civil rights law enacted by Congress in 1972 as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"). See 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq. The law prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating on the basis of sex concerning admissions, athletics, employment, and financial aid. 

While Congress originally intended the law to provide equal access to education and employment for women and girls, court cases and federal regulations interpreting and explaining the law expanded its scope over the last 45 years. Now, the law also covers sexual harassment, assault, stalking, and dating violence in K-12 schools and colleges and universities. Many states, including Washington, also passed legislation incorporating Title IX regulations into state law.

Washington State Law

Washington law prohibits sexual harassment that creates a hostile environment in schools. Schools that know, or reasonably should have known, about harassment or assault, must investigate the incident and take steps to protect students. Schools must take these steps even if no parent or student files a complaint.

While Washington's law closely follows earlier Title IX regulations and incorporates them in part, new federal regulations will still affect how high schools in the state implement Title IX investigations and disciplinary actions. See, e.g., WAC § 392-190-007 (2014).

New Title IX Regulations for Washington High Schools

The new Title IX regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education ("DOE"), include new requirements for high schools, including:

  • High schools must address sexual abuse cases internally, regardless of whether or not law enforcement pursues an investigation or criminal charges.
  • Schools must notify all students involved in the accusations.
  • Schools must notify all students involved of the evidence the school is gathering.
  • High schools must give the accused ten days to respond to the allegations.
  • All schools must keep written records of actions taken under Title IX investigations for at least seven years.
  • A Title IX investigator cannot also decide if a student is responsible, ensuring a neutral arbitrator.
  • If any district employee learns of a potential harassment or assault claim, a high school must investigate.
  • High schools must also investigate incidents that arise off-campus, such as during athletic events, field trips, or conferences.
  • Schools must have accessible options for reporting sexual harassment, including verbally, in writing, and by email or phone.
  • Anyone can report an incident including parents, students, victims, friends, and bystanders.

The New Definition of Sexual Harassment

One of the most significant changes to Title IX regulations is the redefinition of sexual harassment. Earlier Title IX regulations defined sexual harassment in a way that closely aligned with Washington state's definition.

Washington's law defines sexual harassment as: 

[…u]nwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature if:

(i) Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining an education or employment;

(ii) Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting that individual's education or employment; or

(iii) That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's educational or work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or work environment.

RCW § 28A.640.020(2)(f) (1994).

The new Title IX regulations define sexual harassment to include:

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

The new regulations also change the definition of sexual assault to "an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI's [Uniform Crime Reporting] program."

While Title IX's regulations define sexual harassment more narrowly, if someone accuses a Washington high school student of sexual harassment, the school may follow the narrow federal definition in determining whether to investigate and remediate the situation under Title IX. However, a student may still face an investigation and disciplinary action under the broader Washington definition. Although Washington's law specifically follows and adapts the regulations the Department of Education promulgates under Title IX, see WAC § 392-190-007 (2014), other parts of Washington Law may conflict. See also RCW § 28A.640.020(2)(f). A student or staff member could still face repercussions related to a sexual harassment complaint. As a result, consulting an experienced Title IX advisor about the applicable law is essential.

Keeping Washington Schools Accountable

Navigating both Washington law, federal law, and school district policy concerning Title IX in high schools can be complicated and nuanced. If your student faces a Title IX investigation or disciplinary hearing in Washington, you quickly need an experienced students' rights advisor or attorney. An advisor can help protect your high school's students due process rights under federal and state law and applicable school policies and procedures. If found responsible for a Title IX violation, your high school student could face suspension, expulsion, and removal from athletics and activities. Your student's future educational prospects could be in jeopardy.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento is an experienced students' rights attorney and advisor. He has successfully resolved Title IX investigations and disciplinary matters through negotiation and disciplinary hearings and processes at high schools across the country. If your child is facing a high school Title IX investigation in Washington, Joseph Lento can help. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-555-3686 or contact us through the online form.

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

A

  • Aberdeen School District
  • Adna School District
  • Almira School District
  • Anacortes School District
  • Arlington School District
  • Asotin-Anatone School District
  • Auburn School District

B

  • Bainbridge School District
  • Battle Ground School District
  • Bellevue School District
  • Bellingham School District
  • Benge School District
  • Bethel School District
  • Bickleton School District
  • Blaine School District
  • Boistfort School District
  • Bremerton School District
  • Brewster School District
  • Bridgeport School District
  • Brinnon School District
  • Burlington-Edison School District

C

  • Camas School District
  • Cape Flattery School District
  • Carbonado School District
  • Cascade School District
  • Cashmere School District
  • Castle Rock School District
  • Centerville School District
  • Central Kitsap School District
  • Central Valley School District
  • Centralia School District
  • Chehalis School District
  • Cheney School District
  • Chewlah School District
  • Chimacum School District
  • Clarkston School District
  • Cle Elum-Roslyn School District
  • Clover School District
  • Colfax School District
  • College Place School District
  • Colton School District
  • Columbia School District (Stevens)
  • Columbia School District (Walla Walla)
  • Colville School District
  • Concrete School District
  • Conway Consolidated School District
  • Cosmopolis School District
  • Coulee-Hartline School District
  • Coupeville School District
  • Crescent School District
  • Creston School District
  • Curlew School District
  • Cusick School District

D

  • Damman School District
  • Darrington School District
  • Davenport School District
  • Dayton School District
  • Deer Park School District
  • Dieringer School District
  • Dixie School District

E

  • East Valley School District (Yakima)
  • East Valley School District (Spokane)
  • Eastmont School District
  • Easton School District
  • Eatonville School District
  • Edmonds School District
  • Ellensburg School District
  • Elma School District
  • Endicott School District
  • Entiat School District
  • Enumclaw School District
  • Ephrata School District
  • Evaline School District
  • Everrett School District
  •   Evergreen Public Schools (Clark)
  • Evergreen School District (Stevens)

F

  • Federal Way School District
  • Ferndale School District
  • Fife Public School District
  • Finley School District
  • Franklin Pierce School District
  • Freeman School District

G

  • Garfield School District
  • Glenwood School District
  • Goldendale School District
  • Grand Coulee Dam School District
  • Grandview School District
  • Granger School District
  • Granite Falls School District
  • Grapeview School District
  • Great Northern School District
  • Green Mountain School District
  • Griffin School District

H

  • Harrington School District
  • Highland School District
  • Highline School District
  • Hockinson School District
  • Hood Canal School District
  • Hoquiam School District

I

  • Inchelium School District
  • Index School District
  • Issaquah School District

K

  • Kahlotus School District
  • Kalama School District
  • Keller School District
  • Kelso School District
  • Kennewick School District
  • Kent School District
  • Kettle Falls School District
  • Kiona-Benton City School District
  • Kittitas School District
  • Klickitat School District

L

  • LaCenter School District
  • LaConner School District
  • LaCrosse School District
  • Lake Chelan School District
  • Lake Stevens School District
  • Lake Washington School District
  • Lakewood School District
  • Lamont School District
  • Liberty School District
  • Lind School District
  • Longview Public Schools
  • Loon Lake School District
  • Lopez School District
  • Lyle School District
  • Lynden School District

M

  • Mabton School District
  • Mansfield School District
  • Manson School District
  • Mary M. Knight School District
  • Mary Walker School District
  • Maryville School District
  • McCleary School District
  • Mead School District
  • Medical Lake School District
  • Mercer School District
  • Meridian School District
  • Methow Valley School District
  • Mill A School District
  • Monroe School District
  • Montesano School District
  • Morton School District
  • Moses Lake School District
  • Mossyrock School District
  • Mount Adams School District
  • Mount Baker School District
  • Mount Pleasant School District
  •   Mount Vernon School District
  • Mukilteo School District

N

  • Naches School District
  • Napavine School District
  • Naselle-Grays River Valley School District
  • Nespelem School District
  • Newport School District
  • Nine Mile Falls School District
  • Nooksack Valley School District
  • North Beach School District
  • North Franklin School District
  • North Kitsap School District
  • North Mason School District
  • North River School District
  • North Thurston Public Schools
  • Northport School District
  • Northshore School District

O

  • Oak Harbor School District
  • Oakesdale School District
  • Oakville School District
  • Ocean Beach School District
  • Ocosta School District
  • Odessa School District
  • Okanogan School District
  • Olympia School District
  • Omak School District
  • Onalaska School District
  • Onion Creek School District
  • Orcas Island School District
  • Orchard Prairie School District
  • Orient School District
  • Orondo School District
  • Oroville School District
  • Orting School District
  • Othello School District

P

  • Palisades School District
  • Palouse School District
  • Pasco School District
  • Pateros School District
  • Paterson School District
  • Pe Ell School District
  • Peninsula School District
  • Pioneer School District
  • Pomeroy School District
  • Port Angeles School District
  • Port Townsend School District
  • Prescott School District
  • Prosser School District
  • Pullman School District
  • Puyallup School District

Q

  • Queets-Clearwater School District
  • Quilcene School District
  • Quillayute School District
  • Quinault School District
  • Quincy School District

R

  • Rainier School District
  • Raymond School District
  • Reardan-Edwall School District
  • Renton School District
  • Republic School District
  • Richland School District
  • Ridgefield School District
  • Ritzville School District
  • Riverside School District
  • Riverview School District
  • Rochester School District
  • Roosevelt School District
  • Rosalia School District
  • Royal School District

S

  • San Juan Island School District
  • Satsop School District
  • Seattle School District
  • Sadro-Woolley Schools
  • Selah School District
  • Selkirk School District
  • Sequim School District
  • Shaw School District
  • Shelton School District
  • Shoreline School District
  • Skamania School District
  • Skykomish School District
  • Snohomish School District
  • Snoqualmie Valley School District
  • Soap Lake School District
  • South Bend School District
  • South Kitsap School District
  • South Whidbey School District
  • Southside School District
  • Spokane School District
  • Sprague School District
  • Stanwood-Camano School District
  • Star School District
  • Starbuck School District
  • Stehekin School District
  • Steilacoom Historical School District
  • Steptoe School District
  • Stevenson-Carson School District
  • Sultan School District
  • Summit Valley School District
  • Sumner School District
  • Sunnyside School District

T

  • Tacoma School District
  • Taholah School District
  • Tahoma School District
  • Tekoa School District
  • Tenino School District
  • Thorp School District
  • Toledo School District
  • Tonasket School District
  • Toppenish School District
  • Touchet School District
  • Toutle School District
  • Trout School District
  • Tukwila School District
  • Tumwater School District

U

  • Union Gap School District
  • University Place School District

V

  • Vader School District
  • Valley School District
  • Vancouver School District
  • Vashon School District

W

  • Wahkiakum School District
  • Wahluke School District
  • Waitsburg School District
  • Walla Walla School District
  • Wapato School District
  • Warden School District
  • Washougal School District
  • Washtucna School District
  • Waterville School District
  • Wellpinit School District
  • Wenatchee School District
  • West Valley School District (Spokane)
  • West Valley School District (Yakima)
  • White Pass School District
  • White River School District
  • White Salmon Valley School District
  • Wilbur School District
  • Willapa School District
  • Wilson Creek School District
  • Winlock School District
  • Wishkah Valley School District
  • Wishram School District
  • Woodland School District

Y

  • Yakima School District
  • Yelm School District

Z

  • Zillah School District

It is critical to make certain the Title IX investigation at your child's Washington 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 Washington and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

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.

Menu