BVSD Survivors has worked alongside other advocates in the district to fight for important changes in Title IX Policy and methods to combat the prevalence of sexual violence in the district. We have come a long way from the work we began in 2019 alongside other passionate individuals advocacy and collaboration.
Title IX Coordinator
In 2019 when we first began our work, there was no Title IX Coordinator listed on the BVSD website and there was no communications to the BVSD Community to share who the Title IX Coordinator was. After expressing our concerns to the school, the website was changed to be in compliance by listing the Title IX Coordinator's phone number, email, and office address. We also worked on several campaigns with the district to distribute more information on Title IX and raise more awareness on who the coordinator is. Additionally, BVSD did not have a full-time Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator also had the position of legal counsel so we requested to have a full-time position for someone whose sole duty would be. In July of 2021, the district finally incorporated a full time position into the budget.
Notice of Non-Discrimination
The Notice of Non-Discrimination was available on the website, but it was very difficult to navigate. In the months that we were doing our research, the page was taken down to be revised. Once it was revised, it was posted only on the sexual violence webpage. After presenting to the superintendent and stating that the notice had to be distributed on every published document of BVSD, the notice was put on the footer of the website in the links of every page.
BVSD was missing all three major components of Title IX when we initially started working in the district and the Grievance Procedure is one of the most important aspects that they were missing. The grievance procedure explains the investigation process of Title IX from start to finish and tells students what their rights are in an investigation and what they can expect. We helped modify the grievance procedure and made it publicly available on the website where it was not before.
Other Components of Title IX
The other components of Title IX that were missing from the website were the Survivors Bill of Rights and the Title IX Complaint form. The form to file an actual Title IX complaint was nowhere on the website so we asked for that to be available because students did not even have access to filing a complaint. Additionally, it is required to publish the Survivor's Bill of Rights also known as Title IX Rights that informs those involved in an investigation what their rights are. We revised and added rights we felt were missing and incorporated them into the website.
Student Code of Conduct and Athletic Code of Conduct
We revised both the athletic code of conduct and the student code of conduct to explicitly state that sexual violence was a part of the prohibited conduct. In the athletic code of conduct, sanctions were added consistent with Title IX for those accused of sexual violence. Explicitly outlining sexual violence in these codes of conduct solidify the district's responsibility to respond and remedy all complaints of sexual violence made.
DeVos's Changes to Title IX
On May 6th, 2020, Betsy DeVos created several regressive changes to Title IX that severely limited the rights f survivors. In response to these changes that lowered the bar for school districts, we created a petition that received over 1,000 signatures for the board of education. We demanded that BVSD hold a higher standard of Title IX and protect its students from these harmful changes. We met with several district officials to go over and revise policies to ensure that survivors are still supported under these changes and that the district maintains responsibility for responding to complaints of sexual violence.
With the lack of public knowledge on Title IX, filing a complaint is already very difficult to navigate and having a non-cohesive website makes this process more difficult. We asked that the district create a page specifically for sexual violence that encompassed all necessary information on reporting, Title IX documents, and resources. Although the sexual violence webpage is not perfect, condensing these documents to one location makes the process easier to navigate. We also made sure that all Title IX documents are available on the website in Spanish.
In the fall of 2020 after advocating for the incorporation of prevention programs, a budget was finally approved for training to take place in all BVSD K-12 schools from January-May 2021. While we are grateful for the incorporation of these programs, we are extremely disappointed in the lack of desire to make prevention programs long lasting BVSD. Our goal as a movement is to create sexual violence prevention programs as a core curriculum in BVSD to stay long-term.
Title IX Advisory Council
In 2021, BVSD Survivors alongside other passionate parents established a Title IX Advisory Council in the district to address the ongoing issue of sexual violence. The council's responsibility is to address all issues with Title IX, sexual violence, and creating more resources for survivors within the district. The council starts in Fall 2021 and will be an ongoing committee at BVSD.