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I’m Afraid to Send My Son to School: How Title IX is Hurting the Next Generation of Men

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I’m Afraid to Send My Son to School: How Title IX is Hurting the Next Generation of Men

Lindsay R. McKasson, Esq.

May 27, 2021

If you had asked me five years ago what my law practice would look like today, I never would have guessed I would be representing wrongfully accused students. I did not even know Title IX was a legal practice area. I certainly would not have realized that it is an epidemic sweeping America, forever changing the lives of boys and young men.

I have long considered myself a liberal and a defender of women. It seems, however, that progressives has forgotten about due process, a critically important civil right. We live in an age where it only matters that one is accused, not whether they are guilty or “responsible” (the terminology schools use in convicting students of misconduct). As a result, hundreds if not thousands of boys and young men are being accused each year of actions that may violate a school’s Title IX policy, consequently changing their lives forever. They will always be considered “charged” even if found not responsible.

During the days, months, and sometimes more than a year of investigating the matter, accused boys and young men live in constant fear that the school will make the wrong decision and that they will be suspended or expelled, forever changing their life’s trajectory.

The best-case scenario after being charged at a school is that one is found “not responsible.” This is usually after weeks and months of the investigation pending. Lives are turned upside down trying to prove one’s innocence. Reputations are ruined. Countless money is spent on attorneys’ fees. It is an emotional roller coaster that causes many of my clients severe emotional harm. They end up with PTSD, or worse, suicidal. I tell them to have hope, that it will get better. But, I also know the stakes are high – their future opportunities are completely at risk.

I think many people hearing about this issue assume this is happening only to guilty men on college campuses. They hear “Title IX” and believe it is sexual assault or rape. Many of my cases, however, involve young men and boys, and the “charge” comes down to improper language.

I have one client who was essentially accused of using improper language. No touching was involved or alleged. He was expelled from his high school. His scholarship and admission to college revoked. Not only will he never trust a female again, but his life is also completely different than the one he worked so hard to build. This was a collegebound male who now has no secondary education.

My youngest client is a fifth grader. I have another client who was “investigated” in eighth grade for actions that allegedly occurred in seventh grade. He was found “not responsible” for the sexual activity of which he was accused. But, the accusing student, who has been caught in many, many lies during the course of the school’s and our own investigation, cannot let it go. Nor can her mother, which is often the case. They sued him. The case has gone on for years. Next summer, he will simultaneously be preparing for college and defending against false allegations that arose when he was in seventh grade.

Many of my cases do not involve sexual assault. If it does, many of the allegations are so far outside of the realm of reality, they appear false on their face. Brett Sokolow, President of the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), recently stated that around 50% of the Title IX claims made by complainants are “baseless.”[1] Yet, the schools seemingly do not care. If there is an allegation made, they must investigate and “charge” the accused. The schools are so afraid of lawsuits and getting “cancelled” by “woke culture,” they side with the female complaining student, no matter the ludicrousness of the allegations.

My experience is that many of these matters involve false allegations or allegations that do not amount to sexual assault or rape. Each false allegation not only hurts the males who are accused but also delegitimizes true sex crimes that occur on campus. For those true crimes, there is a system already in place – the American criminal justice system wherein due process is protected. Moreover, there are also options in civil court. As it stands right now, however, students are going to the universities where due process is not as protected. Moreover, it is in jeopardy should the Title IX Regulations that went into effect in August 2020 get repealed.

Title IX’s intentions of protecting women from campus rape are absolutely valid. The road to hell, however, is paved with good intentions. In the process of trying to protect women, men’s lives are being ruined. Worse than that, no one seems to care. The schools show a callous disregard for their male students. They could not be doing more damage to these young men and boys.

Now, I have a six-month-old son. I have already begun making mental notes of everything I will tell him when I send him off to school. And yes, I do mean elementary school. When I contemplate the wisdom I have gained, I become overwhelmed because I know the answer is nothing will protect him.

If someone decides to make up a lie, take something out of context, or retroactively change their mind about a consensual sexual activity, not much can be done to rectify the situation. The best-case scenario after his life is turned upside down is the school miraculously finds him not responsible. Consequently, he will never be the same. How am I supposed to have this conversation with my son? Is my best advice being to avoid school altogether and homeschool him? I hope not.

Is this really the future for our sons? Is this the America where we want to live? Again, I hope not.

I find some solace in the prohibition on “materially false statements” in the new Title IX Regulations. Specifically, 34 CFR Section 106.71 provides a safe harbor for schools to discipline those complainants (and respondents) that make “materially false statements” to schools investigating these matters. This provision should provide a strong deterrent to those students that would falsely and maliciously accuse students. Without such a regulation, I worry that there will be no incentive against making false allegations and every incentive towards making one.

All Americans should want a system that protects students from assault and from false allegations. If the Biden Administration reverses the recent Regulations, I worry that it will be easier for our sons to be falsely accused. This should concern all mothers. I hope it concerns all Americans.