Today, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) resolved a compliance review of the Mingo County Schools in West Virginia with a resolution agreement to address the district's handling of sexual assault cases, including those involving student and staff misconduct.
OCR had concerns that the district did not complete an investigation of serial misconduct and that it did not respond equitably to complaints of sexual assault during the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 academic years, including that male respondents may have been treated less favorably than female respondents.
OCR also determined that the district violated Title IX by failing to identify a Title IX Coordinator prior to August 2020; failing to adopt and publish Title IX grievance procedures that complied with Title IX; failing to issue a notice of nondiscrimination that complied with Title IX; and failing to adopt recordkeeping practices with regard to Title IX complaints.
The district's Title IX policies and procedures were inconsistent with one another and presented information to students, parents and guardians, and administrators in a confusing manner. In addition, the district's files were often incomplete or kept in a manner that did not allow OCR to assess the adequacy of the district's response to Title IX complaints and, ultimately, determine whether the district complied with Title IX.
The resolution agreement commits the district to take the steps needed to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in all of its education programs and activities, including:
- Designating and identifying its Title IX coordinator(s) and providing Title IX training.
- Reviewing and revising its Title IX policies and submitting to OCR case file documentation sufficient to show that the district's revised Title IX policies are compliant and effective.
- Publishing a compliant notice of nondiscrimination.
- Reviewing all complaints of student and staff Title IX misconduct during the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 school years to determine – with OCR review and approval – whether additional actions need to be taken to comply with Title IX. And,
- Surveying students and parents to assess a need for additional changes.
"Mingo County Schools' commitments today to ensure consistent and equitable investigation of and response to possible sexual assault of students in the district's charge, as well as training, staffing, and policy development that fulfill the Title IX mandate, are crucial to ensuring student safety," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon.
The letter to Mingo County Schools is available here and the resolution agreement is available here.