Who is responsible for sexual violence in schools? Schools can be liable for such violence under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a general ban on sex discrimination by educational institutions that receive federal funding.
Of course, Title IX is best known for its dramatic impact on gender equity in athletics (an impact I analyze here, in an earlier column for Justia’s Verdict, co-authored with Deborah Brake in honor of Title IX’s 40th anniversary). But the statute broadly bans all forms of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. However, what schools are required to do to address the problem of sexual violence in schools—both before and after it happens—is the subject of a complicated set of administrative and judicial standards that make up Title IX law.
In this two-part series of columns—with the second appearing tomorrow, Tuesday, July 10, here on Justia’s Verdict—I will discuss a recent case in which a school district was sanctioned by a federal agency for failing to respond to a complaint of student-to-student sexual assault, and the legal standards that produced that result.