FAQ

Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault

  1. How do I know if I've been sexually assaulted?
  2. How do I know if I've been sexually harassed?
  3. What is SPS's policy regarding sexual harassment?
  4. What should I do if I think I've been sexually harassed or victimized?
  5. Are women the only victims of sexual harassment or sexual violence?
  6. Is it possible to be sexually harassed/assaulted by someone of the same gender?
  7. If I think I've been victimized and I don't feel safe, what can I do?
  8. The definition of sexual assault says it can occur either forcibly (against a person's will) or when a person cannot give consent. What does "when a person cannot give consent" mean?
  9. If an incident of sexual violence occurs off-campus, can the District investigate?
  10. If an incident occurred at a party and I was drinking, will I get in trouble?
  11. Someone has filed a complaint against me, what do I do?
  12. Where can I get more information or support if I want to talk to someone outside of SPS?
Reporting
  1. To whom should I report that I've been sexually harassed/assaulted?
  2. I've already gone to the police, so why do I need to go to the Title IX Coordinator of my School Compliance Official?
  3. If I reported being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted to the Title IX Coordinator or my School Compliance Official, do I still need to go to the police?
  4. Will my complaint remain confidential?
  5. What if I want to remain anonymous?
  6. Do I have to identify the accused?
  7. I'm concerned that reporting might make matters worse. Should I still file a complaint?
  8. My friend told me he or she was assaulted. What can I do to help?
  9. Do I have to report to SPS? Is there someone outside SPS I can report to?
Title IX Coordinator
  1. What is a Title IX Coordinator?
  2. Isn't Title IX just about Athletics?

Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault

1. How do I know if I've been sexually assaulted?

Generally, sexual assault is any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact against any individual by another. Sexual assault can occur either forcibly (against a person's will) or when a person cannot give consent (under the age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc.). For more information on determining whether a sexual assault has occurred, please visit the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network's (RAINN) information page titled "Was I Raped?"

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2. How do I know if I've been sexually harassed?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal/physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, student status or participation in school activities.
  • Such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it substantially interferes with an individual's education, employment, or participation in School activities; or
  • Such conduct is intentionally directed towards a specific individual and unreasonably interferes with that individual's education, employment, or participation in school activities.

Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Displays of sexually suggestive materials or content
  • Sexual jokes or innuendos
  • Sexual touching
  • Unwelcome flirting or advances
  • Pressuring you for sex
  • Repeated requests for dates
  • Persistent email or social network communications
  • Requiring sexual favors in exchange for a grade
  • A favor or some other benefit, sexual contact, sexual assault

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3. What is SPS's policy regarding sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination and is prohibited by SPS policy: For more information, please see Seattle Public Schools Sexual Harassment Policy No. 3208.

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4. What should I do if I think I've been sexually harassed or victimized?

Contact the Title IX Coordinator at 206-252-0367, by email, or you may also fill out a complaint form and send it by fax to the Title IX Coordinator at 206-743-3064.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual violence, please contact the Safety and Security Office 206-252-0707, and the Police (911).

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5. Are women the only victims of sexual harassment or sexual violence?

No, both females and males can be victims of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence. For more information regarding sexual assaults on males please visit the RAINN's information page regarding Male Sexual Assault.

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6. Is it possible to be sexually harassed/assaulted by someone of the same gender?

Yes. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact or sexual harassment, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant. Such conduct is prohibited by Title IX and SPS policy.

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7. If I think I've been victimized and I don't feel safe, what can I do?

Find a safe place away from the assailant and call the police. The Title IX Coordinator also can coordinate other assistance including no contact orders, escort services, relocation of the individuals involved, and reassignment of schedules if the victim and the accused have similar schedules.

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8. The definition of sexual assault says it can occur either forcibly (against a person's will) or when a person cannot give consent. What does "when a person cannot give consent" mean?

In certain situations, a person does not have the capacity to agree to participate in consensual sex. Examples include individuals who are under the age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc. Anyone engaging in sexual contact with someone who is unable to give consent may be committing sexual assault.

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9. If an incident of sexual violence occurs off-campus, can SPS investigate?

Yes, if the incident has sufficient ties to SPS (if it occurs at a SPS event, if it involves a SPS student, or staff member, etc.) then SPS can investigate and provide resolution.

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10. If an incident occurred at a party and I was drinking, will I get in trouble?

SPS's priority is to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence. While the specifics of the situation will be considered, SPS's primary focus will be to address the sexual harassment or violence. SPS does not want the involvement of alcohol or drugs to prevent the reporting of such serious misconduct. Also, the use of alcohol or drugs will not excuse sexual violence or harassment.

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11. Someone has filed a complaint against me, what do I do?

Do not contact the accuser through any means—in person, by phone, by mail, by social media or electronic communication or through someone else.

Familiarize yourself with SPS's procedure for investigating complaints of sexual harassment (Superintendent Procedure 3208SP, Attachment 2) so that you know what to expect. If you have questions about the complaint or investigation process, contact the Title IX Coordinator. If you need support, Patricia Sander, executive director of Coordinated School Health 206-252-0705.

12. Where can I get more information or support if I want to talk to someone outside of SPS?

There are many local and national resources that provide information, counseling, and advocacy. Here are some:

Local

Asian Counseling and Referral Service

API Chaya

Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services

Consejo Counseling and Referral Service for the Latino community

Crisis Clinic – 24-hour crisis line and community resource directory 866-4CRISIS

LifeWire

Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress (HCSATS)

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) – 24-hour crisis line 888-99-VOICE

New Beginnings

Northwest Network for Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse

Legal Voice

National

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network – RAINN

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Know Your IX

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Reporting

1. To whom should I report that I've been sexually harassed/assaulted?

Sexual harassment and acts of sexual violence should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator and/or to Safety and Security.

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2. I've already gone to the police, so why do I need to go to the Title IX Coordinator or my School Compliance Official?

Sexual harassment and sexual violence are potential crimes but they also are violations of Title IX and SPS policy. Sometimes, specific conduct may not constitute a crime, but it still constitutes a violation of Title IX and SPS policy. SPS is committed to addressing and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence, regardless of whether such activity constitutes a crime.

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3. If I reported being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted to my School Compliance Official or the Title IX Coordinator, do I still need to go to the police?

Yes. If you believe you have been sexually assaulted or a victim of any other crime, then you should contact the police (911).

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4. Will my complaint remain confidential?

The privacy of the parties is a priority to SPS. However, sometimes, limited information must be disclosed in order to fully investigate a complaint. If you are concerned about confidentiality, discuss this issue with the Title IX Coordinator.

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5. What if I want to remain anonymous?

Your confidentiality will be protected to the maximum extent possible, but anonymity may not be possible.

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6. Do I have to identify the accused?

Yes, in order to conduct a thorough investigation, the accused must be identified.

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7. I'm concerned that reporting might make matters worse. Should I still file a complaint?

Yes. If you have concerns for your safety, SPS can provide escort services and take other steps to assist you. In addition, SPS has a strong retaliation policy that is aggressively enforced if a complainant or a witness is retaliated against for participating in a Title IX investigation.

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8. My friend told me he or she was assaulted. What can I do to help?

Be supportive—listen to what she or he has to say then encourage your friend to report the incident to the police or to the Title IX Coordinator.

You should also consider reporting the incident yourself. You may also suggest that they contact Patricia Sander, executive director of Coordinated School Health 206-252-0705.

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9. Do I have to report to SPS? Is there someone outside SPS I can report to?

You also can report to the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. However, SPS is committed to addressing and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence, and SPS is best able to do that when it is made aware of possible violations.

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Title IX Coordinator

1. What is a Title IX Coordinator?

The title IX coordinator is the SPS official responsible for ensuring that SPS complies with Title IX, including responding to and investigating all complaints of gender discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) at SPS. You can see the title IX coordinator contact information on the contact information page. 

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2. Isn't Title IX just about Athletics?

No. Title IX addresses discrimination based on sex/gender. Title IX considers sexual harassment as a form of sex/gender discrimination and it requires that all incidents of sexual harassment be viewed as discrimination and be investigated.

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