We Commit to Be Harassment-Free
The San Francisco Unified School District believes that all young people have the right to learn in a safe and supportive environment that considers the role that race, gender, and socioeconomic status play in their educational experience. The District is responsible for supporting schools to create spaces for learning that are free from harassment and ensure equitable access to curriculum, programs, services, and activities. We believe that this vision can only be accomplished when we set clear expectations about what we value, what we expect, and how we will work together when things go wrong.
Title IX policies and procedures provide a set of protections against sex and gender based harassment that align with our District values, clarify our expectations for consensual interactions between community members, and outline the steps we will take when boundaries are violated.
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in education, including K-12 schools. Title IX is a federal law that has been used to promote equity in education by ensuring that people of all genders in the educational setting have equal access and experience equal treatment. Additionally, Title IX ensures that anyone who is sexually harassed or discriminated against based on their gender are able to remedy the situation with District support. Title IX provisions are echoed and developed further in San Francisco Unified School District Board and Administrative policies, which extend to the San Francisco County Office of Education, including community school programs and activities. All forms of sexual harassment, whether student to student, staff to student, or student to staff, are prohibited at SFUSD schools.
Title IX Information for Students, Families + Staff
What Rights do Students Have Under Title IX?
- You have the right to fair and equitable treatment and you shall not be discriminated against based on your sex.
- You have the right to be provided with an equitable opportunity to participate in all academic extracurricular activities, including athletics.
- You have the right to inquire of the athletic director of your school as to the athletic opportunities offered by the school.
- You have the right to apply for athletic scholarships.
- You have the right to receive equitable treatment and benefits in the provision of all of the following:
- Equipment and supplies.
- Scheduling of games and practices.
- Transportation and daily allowances.
- Access to tutoring.
- Locker rooms.
- Practice and competitive facilities.
- Medical and training facilities and services.
- You have the right to have access to a gender equity coordinator to answer questions regarding gender equity laws.
- You have the right to contact the State Department of Education and the California Interscholastic Federation to access information on gender equity laws.
- You have the right to file a confidential discrimination complaint with the United States Office of Civil Rights or the State Department of Education if you believe you have been discriminated against or if you believe you have received unequal treatment on the basis of your sex.
- You have the right to pursue civil remedies if you have been discriminated against.
- You have the right to be protected against retaliation if you file a discrimination complaint.
What is Harassment and Other Discrimination on the Basis of Sex?
California Education Code section 230 provides the legal definition of "Harassment and Other Discrimination on the Basis of Sex" as including but not being limited to the following practices:
- On the basis of sex, exclusion of a person or persons from participation in, denial of the benefits of, or subjection to harassment or other discrimination in, any academic, extracurricular, research, occupational training, or other program or activity.
- On the basis of sex, provision of different amounts or types of student financial aid, limitation of eligibility for student financial aid, or the application of different criteria to applicants for student financial aid or for participation in the provision of student financial aid by others. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit an educational institution from administering, or assisting in the administration of, scholarships, fellowships, or other forms of student financial aid, established pursuant to domestic or foreign wills, bequests, trusts, or similar legal instruments or by acts of a foreign government, which require that awards be made to members of a particular sex; provided, that the overall effect of the award of these sex-restricted scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of student financial aid does not discriminate on the basis of sex.
- On the basis of sex, exclusion from participation in, or denial of equivalent opportunity in, athletic programs. For purposes of this subdivision, “equivalent” means equal or equal in effect.
- An educational institution may be found to have effectively accommodated the interests and abilities in athletics of both sexes using any one of the following tests:
- Whether interscholastic level participation opportunities for male and female pupils are provided in numbers substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments.
- Where the members of one sex have been and are underrepresented among interscholastic athletes, whether the school district can show a history and continuing practice of program expansion that is demonstrably responsive to the developing interest and abilities of the members of that sex.
- Where the members of one sex are underrepresented among interscholastic athletes, and the institution cannot show a history and continuing practice of program expansion, whether the school district can demonstrate that the interest and abilities of the members of that sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the present program.
- If an educational institution must cut its athletic budget, the educational institution shall do so consistently with its legal obligation to comply with both state and federal gender equity laws.
- On the basis of sex, harassment or other discrimination among persons, including, but not limited to, students and nonstudents, or academic and nonacademic personnel, in employment and the conditions thereof, except as it relates to a bona fide occupational qualification.
- On the basis of sex, the application of any rule concerning the actual or potential parental, family, or marital status of a person, or the exclusion of any person from any program or activity or employment because of pregnancy or related conditions.
More on Sexual Harassment (Content Warning)
CONTENT WARNING: The content below will discuss topics, occasionally with strong and specific language, that may evoke a strong emotional response. Examples are included that some find triggering and all may find upsetting. Please take care while reading on!
There are many reasonable definitions for sexual harassment, but all of them focus on unwanted behavior of a sexual nature. For schools, Title IX provides a specific definition that the District must follow when determining if Sexual Harassment has occurred in such a way that can be addressed through Title IX policies.
Title IX defines sexual harassment as conduct, performed on the basis of sex, that satisfies one or more of the following:
- Quid Pro Quo: A District employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the District on a student or individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
- Hostile Environment: Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the District's education program or activity; or
- Sexual Assault: Defined as rape; fondling with the intent for sexual gratification; incest; dating violence; domestic violence; and/or stalking behavior that includes a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety.
Not all unwanted behavior of a sexual nature is covered by Title IX. Some behavior may be covered instead by SFUSD’s Bullying & Harassment policies or by the District’s Code of Conduct. All unwanted behavior can and shall be addressed in accordance with the appropriate policy and set of procedures. See some examples below:
|Bullying + Harassment
|Code of Conduct
Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that occurs on campus or at a school-sponsored event, such as…
Unwanted incidents between students that include…
What happens if I am sexually harassed or observe sexual harassment?
SFUSD strongly encourages all students who are victims or observers of harassment to make a report. You can make a report by speaking in person or in writing with an administrator at your school site or by filing a report directly with the Office of Equity.
Once a report has been made, the following steps will be taken:
- The victim will be invited to speak with a school or District leader. During this conversation, they will have the opportunity to tell their story, learn about the formal Title IX complaint process, request supportive measures, and decide if they want to move forward with the formal process. Students will not be forced to move forward with the process unless their parent/guardian overrules them or, in rare circumstances, the District believes that the immediate safety of students is in danger.
- The complaint will be reviewed carefully by the Office of Equity, who will determine which policy is most appropriate: Title IX/Sexual Harassment, Bullying & Harassment, or Code of Conduct. If the reported incident does not meet the criteria for Title IX, it will be referred back to the school site for investigation, support, and discipline under the appropriate policy.
- Complaints that fall under Title IX will be investigated by the Office of Equity. The investigation will include opportunities for all involved parties to provide statements and evidence. School records will be reviewed and school staff may be interviewed. All parties will have opportunities to review and comment on the evidence. Every effort will be made to ensure this process is fair, timely, and supportive to all involved.
- A District Decision-Maker will review the Investigation Report and determine if a policy has been violated and what remedies should be put in place, including disciplinary action. A formal letter will be sent to all parties explaining the decision and the rationale.
Make a Report Now
A student or their parent/guardian may submit a Title IX Formal Complaint Form via mail or email to:
San Francisco Unified School District
Office of Equity
555 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor
If you have questions about the reporting process or need support filing a complaint, please email the District Title IX Coordinator Eva Kellogg at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office of Equity at email@example.com. You may also contact the Office of Equity by phone at (415) 355-7334.
Some Things to Know When Reporting:
- All school and District staff are mandated reporters. This means that they are required by law to report abuse of a minor to Child Protective Services and, in some cases, the police.
- Parents must be notified when formal complaints are filed.
- Complainants (victims) cannot remain anonymous when a formal complaint is filed. This is because of the legal requirements of due process, which ensures a fair investigation and outcome that respects the rights of all involved, including the accused student.
- All students are entitled to “Supportive Measures,” even if they have not filed a formal complaint. Supportive Measures range from safety plans to mental health services to academic accommodations.
- Disciplinary action cannot take place unless and until an investigation has been finished and a decision has been determined.
- There is no statue of limitations for reporting sexual harassment or sex-based discrimination. However, we encourage victims to report as soon as possible so we can offer immediate support and conduct the most effective investigation possible.
Join the Title IX Student Advisory Group (TIXSAG)
The SFUSD Title IX Student Advisory Group (SAG) is a formal way for students to engage in collaboration with District leaders around all issues related to sexual harassment and assault. Students who participate in SAG will provide essential input and feedback that will help shape the policies and practices of the future. Additionally, participation in SAG will equip students to be ambassadors on their campuses for developing a shared understanding of the issues that are important to them.
Submit an application now (due 9/1/22)
California Department of Education Resouces
It is the policy of the State of California that all persons, regardless of their gender, should enjoy freedom from discrimination of any kind in the educational institution of the state. The laws found in the California Education Code 221.5-231.5 are collectively known as the Sex Equity in Education Act. These laws expand upon gender equity and Title IX laws which provide guidance to California’s education system. Each Local Educational Agency (LEA) will be responsible for following the laws in addition to Title IX requirements.
Sexual Harassment Policy & Documents
Student Non-Discrimination/Harassment Policy
How does SFUSD support students who have been impacted by and/or reported sexual harassment?
SFUSD is committed supporting all students who have been affected by sexual harassment and acknowledge that these experiences can be traumatizing. Some of the supports we offer students include:
- Individualized Safety Plans
- Schedule changes
- Academic accommodations (extensions, workload reduction, tutoring, etc)
- Wellness services (check-in/out, drop-in, counseling, group)
- Restorative projects + experiences
- Referrals to community resources: Check out some resources now!
- Non-retaliation clauses
Not all students will experience harassment in the same way or will need the same support. Each student will be provided with support on a case-by-case basis, with input from the student, their parent/guardian, and school staff.
Trauma Informed Approach
Focus on Relationships
Students deserve to feel connected to trusted adults in their schools
Promote safety + trustworthiness
Students deserve access to a transparent, fair, and accessible process that helps them to feel empowered and have appropriate agency over their experiences
Engage in Choice + Collaboration
Students deserve to have a voice in plans made in their service.
Students deserve to be treated as collaborative partners who are experts in their own experiences, feelings, preferences, and needs.
Encourage Skill Building + Confidence
Students deserve opportunities and support to grow skills that will help them navigate their complex environments, cope with difficult situations, and engage meaningfully with their communities.
Office of Equity
Office of Equity & Employee Relations
San Francisco Unified School District/County Office of Education
555 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Keasara (Kiki) Williams
Executive Director, Office of Equity & Employee Relations
Senior Manager & District Title IX Coordinator, Office of Equity
Manager, Office of Equity
Case Coordinator, Office of Equity & Employee Relations
Title IX Training Materials
Please see below for materials used to train the District's Title IX Team. Links to the training materials are posted when available. Where links are currently unavailable, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to view a hard copy of the training materials.
- K-12 Title IX Coordinator & Administrator Advanced Training and Certification Course (ATIXA, February 2020)
- Maintaining Title IX Program Integrity in the Face of a Pandemic (ATIXA, March 2020)
- Ten Things to Know About the New Title IX Regulations (ATIXA, May 2020)
- New Title IX Regulations: Hot Takes for K-12 (Bricker & Eckler, Attorneys at Law, May 2020) - Links Will Be Posted Shortly.
- K-12 Breakdown and Implementation of the New Title IX Regulations (Institutional Compliance Solutions, July 2020)
- Title IX Informal Resolution Facilitator Training (Institutional Compliance Solutions, September 2020)
- Fundamental Training for Title IX Teams: Compliance Officers, Investigators, Decision-makers and Facilitators of Informal Resolution (Dannis Woliver Kelley Attorneys at Law, December 2020).
- Severe, Pervasive, and Objectively Offensive (SPOO) (ATIXA, December 2020)
- ICS Year End Title IX Review (Institutional Compliance Solutions, January 2021)
This page was last updated on February 26, 2024