SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and members of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus are calling on the Trump administration to stop a plan to roll back protections against sexual harassment in public schools and college campuses.
Madigan, Assistant Majority Leader Kelly Burke and House education committee chairs Michelle Mussman, Rita Mayfield and Sue Scherer are working with the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) to submit public testimony to Trump’s Department of Education ahead of a vote this week on proposed rule changes that would make it harder for students to report abuse.
“Here in Illinois we have taken important steps to allow all students learn and reach their full potential in an environment free of harassment, but the Trump administration’s extreme ideology is threatening to take our schools backwards,” Madigan said. “No student should face harassment in school, but the administration’s onerous new rules would silence survivors and create an environment where unacceptable behavior is ignored, excused or accepted as normal. We will not sit back and allow this to happen.”
Madigan, Burke and fellow House Democrats have submitted letters decrying the Trump administration’s proposed changes to Title IX. Under the proposed rules, schools would no longer be required to take action on complaints made to teachers and counselors; only reports made to the few school employees with “authority to institute corrective measures” would require follow up. When an investigation does occur, the rules would require schools to assume no harassment had occurred, and schools would be encouraged to use a standard of proof the NWLC says “stacks the deck against survivors.” Additionally, schools would also be required to ignore harassment that occurs outside of a school activity, including most off-campus and online harassment, even if a student must see her assailant each day at school.
“The House Democratic Women’s Caucus and Speaker Madigan are dedicated to working together to create a culture free of harassment. But the Trump administration’s policies undermine these efforts in our schools, where we can least afford it,” Burke said. “The administration’s message to young people is that they should remain silent. In Illinois, we will do the opposite. We will speak up on behalf of survivors and continue to work toward a better culture for all.”
Citizens can join House Democrats in expressing concern about the Trump administration’s proposed changes to Title IX by joining NWLC letter campaign to submit testimony to the Department of Education at ilhousedems.com and facebook.com/HouseDemsIL.