Natrona County, Laramie County School District #1 and Albany County Schools are all under federal investigation for their handling of sexual violence. The districts are three of 137 nationwide under review by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for Title Nine compliance issues.
Title Nine is the federal act that prohibits sex discrimination and obligates all federally funded educational institutions to protect students from gender-based violence.
Stewart Nelson is the Director for State and Federal Programs for Albany County School District One. He said the district has taken the complaints seriously and has responded by offering more training for teachers and students. But he added one of the challenges is a lack of resources.
“It’s really difficult to find k-12 Title IX trainings,” said Nelson. “The majority of them are all geared towards higher education.”
Jody Sanborn of the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault agreed that districts in Wyoming don’t currently get much support and guidance. Sanborn said, to the best of her knowledge, Wyoming doesn’t have statewide standards for sexual violence education. “It’s really up to each school district to determine what it is that they are doing,” Sanborn said.
She also said the Wyoming Sexual Violence Prevention Council, which she serves on, is working to develop training and technical assistance to help school districts across the state meet Title IX guidelines by more effectively preventing and responding to sexual violence.