Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education, wants to change the federal law to give less support to survivors of sexual assault. One of the changes gives more authority to public schools to decide on whether or not they should investigate based on the evidence they are given. While in some cases that’s fine, in others it could lead to injustices for survivors of sexual assault. Although DeVos has stated that she intends to use these changes to prevent false accusations, these changes will only hurt actual survivors. Giving individual schools this much power can seriously backfire on us. Schools can be biased, assaulters can have connections, and survivors can have no support from their peers. Rather than taking a step forward like she intends, DeVos is taking two steps backwards.
Another change that would be quite detrimental is that only formal complaints can be investigated. You could argue that the change could be great- -false alarms and rumors won’t be investigated therefore the school won’t have to waste their resources and time on something that is simply a rumor. But sometimes rumors aren’t just falsehoods; sometimes they’re things that need to be looked into. Not everyone has the courage to report harassment. Not everyone is in a situation where they are able to report abuse without their safety being compromised. This change in Title IX will fail students that are in those situations. It is appalling and shameful. The changes could potentially sacrifice the trust between students and their school.
DeVos may claim to be thinking of the students, and she may claim to want to better the system but she isn’t. As school is starting, stress levels rise. From late essays to unfinished math homework, everyone is stressed about something. However we students have one more thing on our plate: the changes being proposed in Title IX. Now before you shrug this off as some lame federal law change or political event that is unimportant. As high school students, we must be angry and call out our Education Department. These are our lives they’re affecting and we have both the right and an obligation to speak up.