TITLE 16
Education

CHAPTER 16-38
Offenses Pertaining to Schools [See Title 16 Chapter 97 – The Rhode Island Board of Education Act]

SECTION 16-38-1.1


§ 16-38-1.1 Discrimination because of sex.

(a)(1) Discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited in all public elementary and secondary schools in the state and in all schools operated by the board of regents for elementary and secondary education. This prohibition shall apply to employment practices, admissions, curricular programs, extracurricular activities including athletics, counseling, and any and all other school functions and activities.

(2) Notwithstanding this prohibition, schools may do the following:

(i) Maintain separate restrooms, dressing, and shower facilities for males and females;

(ii) Conduct separate human sexuality classes for male and female students; and

(iii) Prohibit female participation in all contact sports provided that equal athletic opportunities which effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of both sexes are made available.

(iv) Provide extracurricular activities for students of one sex, including, but not limited to, father-daughter/mother-son activities, but if such activities are provided for students of one sex, opportunities for reasonably comparable activities shall be provided for students of the other sex. School districts are required to allow and notify students that they may bring the adult of their parent's or guardian's choice to the event.

(3) Each local education agency shall designate an equal opportunity officer who shall be responsible for overseeing compliance with this section within the local education agency district.

(4) The board of regents shall designate an equal opportunity officer who shall be responsible for overseeing compliance with this section within schools operated by the board.

(5) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall be responsible for enforcing this section and is empowered to promulgate rules and regulations to enforce the provisions of this section.

(b)(1) Discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited in all public colleges, community colleges, universities, and all other public institutions of higher learning in the state which are operated by the board of governors for higher education. This prohibition shall apply to employment, recruitment, and hiring practices, employment benefits, admissions, curricular programs, extracurricular activities including athletics, counseling, financial aid including athletic grants-in-aid, student medical, hospital, and accident or life insurance benefits, facilities, housing, rules and regulations, research, and any and all other school functions and activities.

(2) Notwithstanding these prohibitions, schools may do the following:

(i) Maintain separate but comparable restrooms, dressing, and shower facilities for males and females, including reasonable use of staff of the same sex as the users of these facilities;

(ii) Provide separate teams for contact sports or for sports where selection for teams is based on competitive skills, provided that equal athletic opportunities which effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of both sexes are made available;

(iii) Maintain separate housing for men and women, provided that housing for students of both sexes is as a whole both proportionate in quantity to the number of students of that sex that apply for housing and comparable in quality and cost to the student; and

(iv) Permit the establishment and operation of university based social fraternities and sororities.

(3) Each individual educational institution of higher learning shall designate an equal opportunity officer or affirmative action officer who shall be responsible for overseeing compliance with this section within the educational institution.

(4) The president of each public college, community college, university, and other public institution of higher learning in the state shall be responsible for enforcing this section and is empowered to promulgate rules and regulations to enforce the provisions of this section.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1985, ch. 201, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 92, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 522, § 1.)