The Women’s Law Section of the Montana Bar sponsored a continuing legal education seminar series on Title IX on Fridays in February. The sessions were 1.5 hours each and were taught by seasoned Montana attorney Elizabeth Kaleva and Title IX law professor Diane Klein.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) is a federal civil rights law that “prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Each part of this statement can be unpacked a little to better understand what the statute is talking about. As the rules currently stand, “sex” includes pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity. “Discrimination” includes harassment. “Any education program” includes all public education facilities (K-12 as well as collegiate) and private facilities using federal financial assistance for that program or activity.

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While the law was put in place in 1972, it has been amended several times since (including major changes under the Trump administration).

How does this apply to Montanans? While these are federal statutes, they apply to public and some private schools in Montana and are interpreted by Montana’s state entities and litigated in Montana courts by Montana attorneys.

If you would like to learn more: Recordings of the sessions (though not the group breakout sessions, due to technical difficulties) are available from the State Bar for continuing legal education purposes. The Montana Trial Lawyer’s Association (MTLA) has recordings from presentations at their events about Title IX as well. Professor Diane Klein has spoken on the subject in this podcast. Author Jon Krakauer wrote the book Missoula summarizing his research about how a few Montana cases played out.

If you think you may need legal help, please contact your attorney or the Montana State Bar for a referral.

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