Title IX Procedures for Illinois Department of Human Services,
Division of Rehabilitation Schools
Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure
Sexual harassment affects a student's ability to learn and an employee's ability to work. Providing an educational and workplace environment free from sexual harassment is an important Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) goal. IDHS/DRS does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities, and it complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and its implementing regulations (34 C.F.R. Part 106) concerning everyone in IDHS/DRS's education programs and activities, including applicants for employment, students, parents/guardians, employees, and third parties.
Title IX Sexual Harassment Prohibited
Sexual harassment as defined in Title IX (Title IX Sexual Harassment) is prohibited. Any person, including an IDHS/DRS employee or agent, or student, engages in Title IX Sexual Harassment whenever that person engages in conduct on the basis of an individual's sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- A IDHS/DRS employee conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
- 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 IDHS/DRS's educational program or activity; or
- Sexual assault as defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), dating violence as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(10), domestic violence as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(8), or stalking as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(30).
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, touching, crude jokes or pictures, discussions of sexual experiences, teasing related to sexual characteristics, spreading rumors related to a person's alleged sexual activities, rape, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
Definitions from 34 C.F.R. § 106.30
Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Education program or activity includes locations, events, or circumstances where IDHS/DRS has substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which alleged sexual harassment occurs.
Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint means a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a Respondent and requesting that IDHS/DRS investigate the allegation.
Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of the conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Supportive measures mean non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint or where no Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint has been filed.
Title IX Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response
The Superintendent or designee at ISVI, ISD and ICRE-R will ensure that IDHS/DRS prevents and responds to allegations of Title IX Sexual Harassment as follows:
- Ensures that the IDHS/DRS's comprehensive health education program incorporates (a) age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention programs in grades pre-K through 12, and (b) age-appropriate education about the warning signs, recognition, dangers, and prevention of teen dating violence in grades 7-12. This includes incorporating student social and emotional development into the IDHS/DRS educational program as required by State law
- Incorporates education and training for school staff, and as recommended by the Superintendent, Title IX Coordinator, and/or Dean of Students
- Notifies applicants for employment, students, parents/guardians, employees, and collective bargaining units of this policy and contact information for the Title IX Coordinator by, at a minimum, prominently displaying them on the IDHS/DRS's website and in each handbook made available to such persons.
Making a Report
A person who wishes to make a report under this Title IX Sexual Harassment grievance procedure may make a report to the Title IX Coordinator, School Superintendent or designee, or Dean of Students or any employee with whom the person is comfortable speaking. A person who wishes to make a report may choose to report to a person of the same gender.
School employees shall respond to incidents of sexual harassment by promptly making or forwarding the report to the Title IX Coordinator. An employee who fails to promptly make or forward a report may be disciplined, up to and including discharge.
The Superintendent shall insert into this policy and keep current the name, office address, email address, and telephone number of the Title IX Coordinator.
Processing and Reviewing a Report or Complaint
Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator and/or designee will promptly contact the Complainant to: (1) discuss the availability of supportive measures, (2) consider the Complainant's wishes with respect to supportive measures, (3) inform the Complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint, and (4) explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint.
Further, the Title IX Coordinator will analyze the report to identify and determine whether there is another or an additional appropriate method(s) for processing and reviewing it. For any report received, the Title IX Coordinator shall review IDHS/DRS policies to determine if the allegations in the report require further action. The policies are: Nondiscrimination/Anti-Harassment Regarding Employees and Individuals, Sexual Harassment, Ethics Guidance for DHS Employees, Rules of Employee Conduct, Conflict of Interest/Board of Directors and Professional Advisory Committee, School Student Handbook policies on Anti-Bullying, Student Behavior, Teen Dating Violence Prohibition and Mandated Reporter status. The Title IX Coordinator can locate these policies in the Student Handbook and under the relevant Administrative Directive.
Reports of alleged sexual harassment will be confidential to the greatest extent practicable, subject to DHS/DRS's duty to investigate and maintain an educational program or activity that is productive, respectful, and free of sexual harassment.
Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Grievance Process
When a Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint is filed, the Title IX Coordinator will investigate it or appoint a qualified person to undertake the investigation.
The Superintendents or designees shall implement procedures to ensure that all Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaints are processed and reviewed according to a Title IX grievance process that fully complies with 34 C.F.R. § 106.45. DHS/DRS's grievance process shall, at a minimum:
- Treat Complainants and Respondents equitably by providing remedies to a Complainant where the Respondent is determined to be responsible for sexual harassment, and by following a grievance process that complies with 34 C.F.R. § 106.45 before the imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions against a Respondent.
- Require an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence - including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence - and provide that credibility determinations may not be based on a person's status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
- Require that any individual designated by IDHS/DRS as a Title IX Coordinator, investigator, decision-maker, or any person designated by DHS/DRS to facilitate an informal resolution process:
- Not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual Complainant or Respondent.
- Receive training on the definition of sexual harassment, the scope IDHS/DRS's Education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process (including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable), and how to serve impartially.
4. Require that any individual designated by IDHS/DRS as an investigator receiving training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.
5. Require that any individual designated by IDHS/DRS as a decision-maker receive training on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the Complainant's sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant.
6. Include a presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
7. Include reasonably prompt timeframes for conclusion of the grievance process.
8. Describe the range of possible disciplinary sanctions and remedies IDHS/DRS may implement following any determination of responsibility.
9. Base all decisions upon the preponderance of evidence standard.
10. Include the procedures and permissible bases for the Complainant and Respondent to appeal.
11. Describe the range of supportive measures available to Complainants and Respondents.
12. Not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.
Any IDHS/DRS employee who is determined, at the conclusion of the grievance process, to have engaged in sexual harassment will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge. Any third party who is determined, at the conclusion of the grievance process, to have engaged in sexual harassment will be addressed in accordance with IDHS/DRS authority in the context of the relationship of the third party to IDHS/DRS, e.g., vendor, parent, invitee, etc. Any IDHS/DRS student who is determined, at the conclusion of the grievance process, to have engaged in sexual harassment will be subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, suspension and expulsion consistent with student behavior policies. Any person making a knowingly false accusation regarding sexual harassment will likewise be subject to disciplinary action.
This policy does not increase or diminish the ability of IDHS/DRS or the parties to exercise any other rights under existing law.
IDHS/DRS prohibits any form of retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, has made a report or complaint, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in a proceeding under this policy.
Any person who retaliates against others for reporting or complaining of violations of this policy or for participating in any manner under this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge, with regard to employees, or suspension and expulsion, with regard to students.
20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq., Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972; 34 C.F.R. Part 106.
Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ., 526 U.S. 629 (1999).
Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent Sch. Dist., 524 U.S. 274 (1998).