Iowa Civil Rights and Safe Schools Law
Iowa Civil Rights and Safe Schools Laws make it ILLEGAL to discriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
Iowa Safe Schools protects students and prohibits:
- “Harassment” or “bullying” can be written, verbal, electronic, or physical conduct based on an actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student which creates an objectively hostile school environment.
“Hostile environment” means one or more of the following:
- Conduct which places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property
- Conduct which has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health
- Conduct which substantially interferes with a student’s academic performance
- Conduct which substantially interferes with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
The Iowa Civil Rights Act protects all school employees and students and prohibits:
- Exclusion, Denial of Benefits, or Discrimination in any educational “program or activity”, including:
- Extracurricular Activities;
- Research Opportunities; or
- Occupational Training.
- Retaliation by taking adverse action against a person for filing a claim, participating in an investigation, or otherwise opposing discriminatory conduct.
- Denial of Comparable Benefits in intramural or interscholastic athletic programs is also prohibited, although schools are allowed to have sex-segregated athletic teams.
- Harassing Conduct based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity, inflicted upon the student by school employees, volunteers, or other students.
Iowa Code 216.9 Unfair or discriminatory practices - education.
1. It is an unfair or discriminatory practice for any educational institution to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability in any program or activity. Such discriminatory practices shall include but not be limited to the following practices:
- Exclusion of a person or persons from participation in, denial of the benefits of, or subjection to discrimination in any academic, extracurricular, research, occupational training, or other program or activity except athletic programs;
- Denial of comparable opportunity in intramural and interscholastic athletic programs;
- Discrimination among persons in employment and conditions of employment;
- 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 dependent upon physician's diagnosis and certification.
2. For the purpose of this section, "educational institution" includes any preschool, elementary or secondary school, community college, area education agency, or postsecondary college or university and their governing boards. This section does not prohibit an educational institution from maintaining separate toilet facilities, locker rooms, or living facilities for the different sexes so long as comparable facilities are provided. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting any bona fide religious institution from imposing qualifications based on religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity when such qualifications are related to a bonafide religious purpose or any institution from admitting students of only one sex.
[C79, 81, §601A.9] 85 Acts, ch 214, §1; 86 Acts, ch 1245, §1496; 90 Acts, ch 1253, §121 C93, §216.9 2007 Acts, ch 191, §11, 12; 2008 Acts, ch 1032, §36 Referred to in §216.2, §260C.5
The U.S.. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Scope of Title IX
- Title IX applies to institutions that receive federal financial assistance from ED, including state and local educational agencies. These agencies include approximately 16,500 local school districts, 7,000 postsecondary institutions, as well as charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums. Also included are vocational rehabilitation agencies and education agencies of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories and possessions of the United States.
- Educational programs and activities that receive ED funds must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner. Some key issue areas in which recipients have Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Also, a recipient may not retaliate against any person for opposing an unlawful educational practice or policy, or made charges, testified or participated in any complaint action under Title IX. For a recipient to retaliate in any way is considered a violation of Title IX. The ED Title IX regulations (Volume 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106) provide additional information about the forms of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.
OCR’s Enforcement of Title IX
- OCR vigorously enforces Title IX to ensure that institutions that receive federal financial assistance from ED comply with the law. OCR evaluates, investigates, and resolves complaints alleging sex discrimination. OCR also conducts proactive investigations, called compliance reviews, to examine potential systemic violations based on sources of information other than complaints.
- In addition to its enforcement activities, OCR provides technical assistance and information and guidance to schools, universities and other agencies to assist them in voluntarily complying with the law. OCR’s Title IX Resource Guide PDF (501K) is a useful tool for schools and their Title IX coordinators to understand schools’ obligations under Title IX.
- For assistance related to Title IX or other civil rights laws, please contact OCR at OCR@ed.gov or 800-421-3481, TDD 800-877-8339.