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Monroe County Board of Education
United States Supreme Court 526. U.S. 629 (1999) Key Search Terms: Title IX, Sexual Harassment Facts Davis filed suit against the Monroe County Board of Education for damages related to the sexual harassment of her daughter LaShonda, a 5th grader. Davis alleges that the respondent’s indifference to the sexual harassment of her daughter created an intimidating, hostile, offensive, and abusive environment. The district court granted the board’s motion to dismiss, holding that “studenton-student” or peer harassment is no ground for a Title IX private cause of action. Issue The issue is whether a school board’s failure to respond to a student’s complaint of sexual harassment violates Title IX.
Title IX, in part, prohibits a student from being “excluded from participation in, be[ing] denied the benefits of, or be[ing] subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). The courts have previously held that a private Title IX action for damages may lie against a school board in student-on-student harassment only where there is actual knowledge of the harassment and it is so “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it can be said to deprive the victims of access to the educational benefits provided by the school.” The court reasoned that a school district may be liable for damages under Title IX where it is deliberately indifferent to known acts of harassment towards students by students. The 6th Circuit decided that the facts do support the conclusion that the harassment was severe, pervasive, and offensive. Additionally, the complaint alleges that multiple victims of the harassment sought assistance from the principal and that actual knowledge and deliberate indifference by the respondent can be established. Because the 6th Circuit determined that such facts are likely to be verified the district court decision was reversed and remanded. Summarized By: Tiffini Grimes