Title IX discussed in Carson City
Three local superintendents met with community members to discuss the importance and implementation of Title IX policies in Northern Nevada.
Carson City Superintendent Richard Stokes, Lyon County Superintendent Wayne Workman and Douglas County Superintendent Teri White met with the American Association of University Women Thursday night to discuss Title IX in the schools.
Title IX is a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex for any activities in any institution that receives federal funding. Many people associate Title IX with the inclusion of women into school sports, but it covers equality for males and females in all aspects of discrimination including academics, sexual harassment and gender divided programs or enrollment.
“It’s important to bring awareness to the community that they might not have gotten otherwise,” said AAUW event coordinator Nancy Stiles. “We wanted to dispel the old idea that Title IX was just about athletics. Title IX is important.”
The three superintendents used the hour to answer questions from the audience and organization about how their Title IX policies are instituted in the school districts.
One big topic that was discussed was how sexual harassment and bullying was handled in the schools.
“This topic is tremendously important to us because kids are exposed to all kinds of media and social influences,” Stokes said. All three superintendents said in their districts, they have implemented teacher trainings, as mandated by new Nevada legislation, for faculty to be able to identify, assess and handle bullying and sexual harassment accusations.
“We do annual training for teachers and in depth training for new teachers to help them understand that (sexual harassment and bullying) is real and to take it seriously,” said White.
Workman said Lyon County has also seen a reduction in sexual harassment and bullying incident rates since his district began the training and there are classes for students to learn about sexual harassment and bullying. The districts are also all implementing programs to help students safely and anonymously report bullying and harassment.
“We always want to do what we can do make our students feel safe coming forward,” Stokes said.
Another big topic discussed was gender roles and academics. The superintendents discussed how they try to get students to participate in non-traditional career paths. For the districts it was about getting students into career paths not typical of their genders, including attempting to recruit more women into math and science paths.
“We want to recruit those girls to math and science because you need to have girl in science class and they better not be the ones cleaning up, but they better be digging into it,” White said.
“It’s wonderful to see our young ladies holding welding torches with the big mask on and creating some beautiful art,” Workman added.
The educators also discussed how the districts handled sexual identity related to transgender bathrooms and human growth education.
Both are evolving for the districts, with the superintendents trying to incorporate more bathrooms and human growth education being decided by the school boards.
At the end of the presentation, the three thanked the AAUW for hosting them and getting the opportunity to talk with the community more on an important issue.