As Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) works toward improving its policies aimed at reducing and investigating incidents of sexual harassment, it recently named a new full-time Title IX coordinator, Megan Farrell.
“The District has faced many Title IX challenges in the past. It has confronted these challenges through the Office for Civil Rights investigation, and it is poised to become a leader in how the K-12 sector enforces Title IX.”
Title IX, a comprehensive federal law, outlaws gender discrimination in schools that receive federal funds.
Farrell took over for the District’s previous Title IX coordinator, John DiPaolo, who temporarily oversaw PAUSD’s compliance with Title IX since June of 2017. According to a Palo Alto Online article, Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks announced Farrell’s appointment during a school board meeting on Oct. 24, and Farrell’s official term began on Nov. 6.
For over 15 years, Farrell has worked in higher education in both public and private educational institutions as a university counsel, faculty member and Title IX coordinator. Previously, she worked for T9 Mastered, a firm in Sacramento that covers the protocol for properly dealing with Title IX investigations. She also served as a counsel to Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP, a law firm in San Francisco, for two years.
Farrell said her career background has appropriately prepared her for her new position as PAUSD’s Title IX coordinator.
“I have been working in the area of Title IX compliance since 2011 and have served as the [first-ever] Title IX Coordinator at Notre Dame of Maryland University, as an external lawyer, consultant and trainer on Title IX matters.”
Farrell also obtained a law degree from Widener University in Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Maryland.
Although Farrell has only been in the position for one month, she looks forward to working with the District faculty and Palo Alto community to find the best solutions for harassment in the District.
“I hope to work closely with the Acting Superintendent, the administration, staff, parents and students to continue compliance efforts,” Farrell said. “I also hope to work with other Title IX officers serving K-12s in CA and throughout the country to determine the best solutions for Title IX compliance because much of the guidance currently is geared toward traditional colleges and universities, not K-12.”
Farrell also looks to expand Title IX systems that were previously put in place by DiPaolo, including the complaint log and protocols for managing Title IX complaints.