Every student has the right to a safe and supportive environment free of discrimination, harassment, abuse and retaliation. Title IX is a federal civil rights law that does not allow discrimination on the basis of sex in schools and school activities including all of Chicago Public Schools. Title VI is a federal civil right law that does not allow discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. Additionally, the Office of Student Protections and Title IX office that schools are safe from all sexual misconduct, bias-based harm and abuse.
Understanding Your Protections
Discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct can take many forms. Read through the glossary of terms below to understand the behaviors you are protected from under Title VI and Title IX.
Discrimination based on sex: When you are treated differently because of your sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical condition, or childbirth.
Sex/gender-based harassment: When someone says something or touches you, creating an unfriendly and uncomfortable situation. Such as when someone says something about how you look, your body, your gender, your sexual orientation, or your private parts that makes you feel uncomfortable. This can include inappropriate staring, inappropriate jokes, showing or sending sexual pictures, demanding hugs, dates or sexual contact, saying things that put you down due to your gender, or spreading sexual rumors.
Sexual harassment: Defined under Title IX regulations as conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee of the recipient conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct
- 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 educational program or activity
- Sexual assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence or Stalking. Definitions can be found in the Office of Student Protections Procedural Manual.
Racial Discrimination: Any distinction, exclusion, restriction, preference, or adverse act based on race, color, community, or national or ethnic origin which has the impact of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, of a right to an equitable educational experience and fundamental freedoms in the social, economic, cultural, political, and linguistic aspects of school, school and district life (Adapted from United Nations, 2019).
Bias-based behavior: Any physical, verbal, nonverbal, microaggression, or other act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a member or perceived member of a protected category within the school community that is of a discriminatory or harmful nature
Retaliation: When someone takes action against you for reporting your complaint or being involved in an investigation. If this happens, you should report this to us as we do not allow retaliation.
Other types of sexual misconduct that you are protected from:
- Grooming: When someone shows you special attention in an attempt to build a relationship, trust and/or emotional connection with you so they can manipulate, exploit and/or abuse you
- Inappropriate touching: When someone makes or tries to make physical contact of genitals (private parts), anus, groin, or breasts, whether directly on your body or indirect through clothes or with an object or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner that you did not want.
- Sexual electronic communication: This is intentionally viewing, making, having, or sharing sexual language or pictures/recordings without the consent of one or more parties.
- Sexual bullying: This is severe (very serious), pervasive (widespread), or persistent (ongoing) unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature or based on a person’s sexuality or gender that is based on an imbalance of power or power and control with an intent to cause harm.
- Sexual exploitation: Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for their own enjoyment (e.g. for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage), or any other non-legitimate purpose.
- Exposure/voyeurism/masturbation: Non-consensually exposing one’s genitals, anus, buttocks, or breasts in a sexual nature; watching others when their body parts are exposed without their consent; or touching one’s own genitals for sexual pleasure.
About the Reporting Process
Supports and Services
- Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline: (888-293-2080) or use chat function on website
- OSP List of Community Resources
- The Trevor Project: Provides 24/7 crisis support services to LGBTQ young people, Text, chat, or call to reach a trained counselor.
- NCMEC Take It Down: Take It Down is a free service that can help you remove or stop the online sharing of nude, partially nude, or sexually explicit images or videos taken of you when you were under 18 years old.
- Student Protections Schools Representatives: The Office of Student Protections and Title IX has trained over 650+ Student Protection School Representatives (SPSRs) as on-the-ground school liaisons to coordinate a school’s response, along with school administrators, to complaints involving students.
- City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services