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Another Title IX Retaliation Lawsuit Emerges
Jun 7th, 2013 by

Source: College Sports Business News

Floodgates of litigation opening

Texas A&M’s former head diving coach, Kevin Wright, has filed a Title IX retaliation lawsuit. He was fired in September from his position as head coach. The lawsuit alleges that he was terminated in retaliation for reporting concerns about gender discrimination in athletics.  Wright has filed suit under a Texas whistleblower protection statute that protects state employees.

The floodgates of litigation seem to have opened regarding a new wave of Title IX complaints and administrators across the nation need to take notice. Multiple cases from California have been resolved recently. The prevalence of these cases has been significantly influenced by the Supreme Court’s decision in 2005 in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education. In that case, the Court ruled that individuals who complain about sex discrimination and are later subjected to some form of retaliatory action have a private right of action for retaliation under Title IX. Jackson involved a former girl’s high school coach who had allegedly been dismissed because of his gender equity advocacy for the girls’ teams.

The Jackson decision was a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court because the prohibition against retaliation was not explicitly set forth in Title IX.

read more …..

 

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OCR Releases Policy Guidance on Retaliation
Apr 24th, 2013 by

Dear Stakeholder:

Today, the Office for Civil Rights has released guidance to remind school districts, postsecondary institutions, and other Federal funding recipients of the legal prohibition against retaliation with regard to civil rights complaints and to describe OCR’s methods of enforcement. The DCL does not contain any new policy or new interpretations of law and is supported by well-established caselaw. However, OCR has never before issued any public guidance describing its enforcement of recipients’ non-retaliation obligations.  We chose to do so here because we feel that this is an important area for clear concise guidance as nearly one fifth of all complaints received by OCR raise retaliation allegations.

 

Please take a moment to read this important guidance at:

·         http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201304.html

·         http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201304.pdf

 

As always, if you have any questions, requests for technical assistance, or outreach opportunities where OCR can play a role please contact one of our regional offices.  You can always find our list of offices and the regions they support at https://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm.

 

Remember to follow the Office for Civil Rights on twitter @EDcivilrights.

 

Thank you.

 

Office for Civil Rights

 

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Another Title IX Retaliation Lawsuit Emerges
Mar 12th, 2013 by

By Dave O’Brien, CSBN Editor   Mon, Feb 15, 2010

Source

Floodgates of litigation opening

Texas A&M’s former head diving coach, Kevin Wright, has filed a Title IX retaliation lawsuit. He was fired in September from his position as head coach. The lawsuit alleges that he was terminated in retaliation for reporting concerns about gender discrimination in athletics.  Wright has filed suit under a Texas whistleblower protection statute that protects state employees.

The floodgates of litigation seem to have opened regarding a new wave of Title IX complaints and administrators across the nation need to take notice. Multiple cases from California have been resolved recently. The prevalence of these cases has been significantly influenced by the Supreme Court’s decision in 2005 in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education. In that case, the Court ruled that individuals who complain about sex discrimination and are later subjected to some form of retaliatory action have a private right of action for retaliation under Title IX. Jackson involved a former girl’s high school coach who had allegedly been dismissed because of his gender equity advocacy for the girls’ teams.

The Jackson decision was a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court because the prohibition against retaliation was not explicitly set forth in Title IX.

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School Officials Can Face Liability for Retaliation Against a Bullied Student
Oct 31st, 2011 by

School Officials Can Face Liability for Retaliation Against a Bullied Student | Legal Digest Online

Jennifer Childress – Editor of The Legal Digest :: 31 October 2011

When it comes to dealing with student bullying complaints, school administrators can get into legal trouble by imposing disciplinary action against a complaining student. Courts have held that retaliatory discipline in response to complaints of harassment or bullying may violate Title IX and the First Amendment. In Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court first recognized a claim of retaliation under Title IX by a male former coach of a girls’ basketball team. The plaintiff in Jackson was removed after complaining to superiors that his team did not receive funding and access to athletic equipment equal to the boys’ team. The Supreme Court held that Jackson could raise a retaliation claim even though he was not a victim of the discrimination that was the subject of his original complaint.

Title IX retaliation claims require a showing that (1) the plaintiff engaged in activity protected under Title IX; (2) the district knew of the protected activity; (3) the plaintiff was subjected to a materially adverse action; and (4) there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action. If the district is able to articulate a legitimate reason for taking the adverse action, the plaintiff must then establish that the reason given by the district was pretextual. Plaintiffs may prove pretext by showing that a retaliatory reason more likely motivated the district’s decision or by showing that the district’s reasons were “unworthy of credence.”

Similarly, to recover damages for a First Amendment retaliation claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) the student was engaged in a constitutionally protected activity; (2) the district’s adverse action caused the student to suffer an injury that would likely chill a person to engage in that activity; and (3) the adverse action was motivated, at least in part, by the student’s exercise of their constitutional rights.

One bullying case out of Ohio illustrates this point. In Marcum v. Bd. of Educ. of Bloom-Carroll Local Sch. Dist., 727 F.Supp.2d 657 (S.D. Ohio 2010), the student alleged that the district retaliated against her for complaining of student bullying and sexual harassment by suspending her and ultimately expelling her. The Ohio court declined to dismiss the retaliation claims against the school principal under Title IX and the First Amendment, holding that genuine issues of fact existed on whether the principal acted with a retaliatory motive when he disciplined the student. The record showed that the principal disciplined the student for allegedly stealing another student’s iPod. The student claimed, however, that she found the iPod and gave it to another student to return to its owner.

The student also presented sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that the decision to suspend and expel the student was motivated, at least in part, by her prior complaints about alleged sexual harassment and verbal taunts by other students. For example, evidence suggested that the principal acted as if he was “getting tired of” the complaints. The student’s mother characterized the principal as “rude” and “hateful.” The principal allegedly laughed and smirked when he told the mother that he was “going for expulsion” of the student. The principal also admitted that he should have investigated the iPod incident more before issuing the discipline. According to the court, the evidence was sufficient to create genuine issues of material fact on whether the principal disciplined the student in retaliation for complaints of harassment.

The main lesson here is that disciplinary action, especially a suspension or expulsion, against a student who has raised complaints of sexual harassment or bullying can give rise to a retaliation claim under either Title IX or the First Amendment. School officials must be able to establish legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons for the discipline. A thorough and impartial investigation of the student’s misconduct, as well as clear and unbiased documentation, will support the reasons for the district’s actions.

 

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Judge Rules In Favor Of Ex-Principal In Harassment Case
Aug 23rd, 2011 by

POSTED: 9:59 pm PDT August 22, 2011

Diane Young Says Then-Superintendent Patrick Judd Sexually Harassed Her

PINE VALLEY, Calif. — A judge has ruled in favor of a former Mountain Empire High School principal who was let go months after she accused the school district superintendent of sexual harassment.

Former principal Diane Young told 10News, “We think we’re living in the 21st century as far as women and we really aren’t.”

She said the emotional wounds that former district superintendent Patrick Judd inflicted on her will never fully heal.

“It was so painful that for the first time in my life, I ended up taking anti-depressants,” said Young.

After the trial, the judge awarded Young $150,000 for emotional distress. The ruling came five years after Young said Judd asked her to go to a motel with him while she was principal at Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley.

Young said when she turned him down, Judd then approached her several times requesting oral sex.

“You just hurt all over and you don’t know where to go with it,” she said.

Shortly after, Young says several more women came forward with similar stories.

“How many more are there in the district this happened to that did not speak up?” she asked.

Judd later resigned. More than a year later, Young was told to leave by a new superintendent. Young called it retaliation.

“He is a friend of Mr. Judd’s,” she said.

That is when Young filed suit against the Mountain Empire Unified School District.

After San Diego Superior Court Judge, Joel R. Wohlfeil ruled in her favor, he stated in court documents that the $150,000 award “…will not replace the sense of fulfillment [Young] was retaliatorily deprived of as a principal.”

“It is just a relief that this is finally out and acknowledged,” Young told 10News.

10News called Judd to get his reaction to the verdict. He told 10News, “No comment.”

10News also reached out to Daniel Shinoff, the attorney for the Mountain Empire Unified School District for comment, but 10News’ phone calls were not returned.

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