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OCR Resolves Indiana School System Title IX Complaint

The Office for Civil Rights has determined that the LaPorte Community School Corporation violated Title IX in a case involving the sexual harassment of volleyball players by their coach.

The Office for Civil Rights resolved a Title IX complaint with an Indiana School Corporation April 27 involving the sexual harassment of high school volleyball players.

The Office for Civil Rights, also known as OCR, determined that the LaPorte Community School Corporation violated Title IX by failing to adequately respond to a volleyball coach’s sexual harassment of his female volleyball players in 2007 and 2008. The coach reportedly directed sexual comments at the players and engaged in sexual relations with a freshman.

The corporation received multiple reports and eyewitness accounts of the coach’s behavior but failed to conduct a thorough investigation or address the effects of sexual harassment on its students, according to the OCR’s resolution letter.

The OCR also stated that the corporation’s actions allowed for the continuation of a sexually hostile environment for the volleyball team, and determined that the corporation’s sexual harassment policies do not comply with Title IX.

In the OCR’s agreement, the corporation agreed to various changes in their policies and procedures. These actions included issuing a statement to the community ensuring that it doesn’t tolerate sexual harassment; revising its sexual harassment policies and code of conduct; providing training to students and staff on sexual harassment policies; disciplining employees who knew of the volleyball coach’s sexual harassment; completing an investigation to ensure no other members of the volleyball team were sexually harassed; and providing the OCR with any other reports of sexual harassment and the corporation’s subsequent response.

The OCR is the enforcement branch of the U.S. Department of Education that strives to ensure equal access to education and advance overall equity in schools.

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