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Your source for everything Monarch

MOHI Mix

Your source for everything Monarch

MOHI Mix

Pride to protect

District provides training for students, staff following sexual assault case

Music blasted from the party bus speakers as a group of juniors made their way to their school’s Homecoming dance. The year was 2018. What may have once seemed like an exciting night for the students quickly turned into something that would change two 11th grade girls’ lives for the worse. The two girls were allegedly sexually assaulted by Fairview High School student-athletes. After the fact, one of the girls came forward with a report.
That report was allegedly left untouched by the school district.
Years later, multiple other girls made reports of sexual assault against a former Fairview lacrosse player. Two women who attended Fairview High School testified against the lacrosse player, describing the ways he destroyed them both mentally and physically. They said their teenage years were slowly stripped from them, lost to an event out of their control.
On Oct. 31, 2022, Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) paid $1.2 million to settle the sexual harassment lawsuit brought forward by the students. As part of the settlement, BVSD began to emphasize the importance of training educators on a law called Title IX.
Title IX prohibits discrimination based on gender in educational settings and protects those who have experienced sexual violence or bullying. In recent years, Title IX has become an increasingly relevant topic as the lawsuit against the Fairview lacrosse player and football players became public. Liz Meyer, a professor at CU Boulder and a member of the BVSD Title IX stakeholder committee, has noticed the changes.
“I know that there are many students who are still experiencing consistent and severe experiences of sex discrimination,” Meyer said. “So even though BVSD is better than many, it doesn’t mean it’s good.”
As a result of the settlement, BVSD has agreed to increase the education of students about Title IX. These trainings teach students how to report assaults, a crucial piece of knowledge for any victim. However, this means there is less focus on the prevention of these assaults from occurring in the first place, an issue that even BVSD’s Title IX coordinator, Elizabeth Francis acknowledges.
“I do hope, or at least think, that by talking about it, students are more familiar with Title IX, like how to report things and what type of support they get if something happens,” Francis said, when asked about the recent increase in training.
She acknowledges that there are still many aspects of student training that need improvement and that it will take some time to do so.
“There’s increased clarity for the community around how incidents of sexual harassment are responded to,” Francis said. “But I don’t know if there’s a decrease in incidents. I don’t know if the training is necessarily helping students stop engaging in behavior.”
Knowing this, BVSD plans to continue to show students in the school district student-made Title IX training videos to continue raising awareness of the law and who it protects. One video aired to all students last November and three similar trainings are scheduled for this semester.
“Whether it be a change of schedule or making sure you don’t have to sit in classes with your alleged assaulter, you should know there is immediate support, advocacy, and remedial measures, and a prompt and thorough investigation with a clear outcome,” Meyer said.

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