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Final

Joel Inoa Reyes


Chip Cobb
Section: 1301
10/05/17
Sexual Harassment Under title IX

Bullying and harassment in American public institutions is an issue that is well known in

most school communities. There were many organizations and advertisements created to help

prevent these issues from occurring; the amount of awareness stresses how massive the issue of

peer harassment is on a large part of the American schooling system. Student harassment

requires sanctions for the problematic stress it can bring to elementary, secondary, and even

collegiate students. Harassment in public schools has been examined through a charge in court;

in the case Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, Aurelia Davis mother of LaShonda

Davis sued Monroe Countys Board of Education with accusation that officials in the school,

which LaShonda attends, failed to prevent sexual harassment towards her child This case was

brought under the violation of title IX (Supreme.justia.com). It had gone through each level of

court district and appellate to finally land on the supreme court, this led Aurelia Davis to

have certiorari basically meaning that supreme court can view this case which coming from

lower courts (Oyez.org). The question of the case was if title IX also includes protections from

peer-on-peer harassment; this led the courts final decision (five to four, decided in 1999) to be

that federally funded (being under title IX) schools are responsible to be in charge of issues like

student-on-student harassment (Oyez.org). The failure of exercising the prohibition of peer

harassment will leave federally funded institutions dealing with the sanctions stemming from

those harmful actions. Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education is a case that is fundamental

towards facing issues like bullying and harassment. The case should be important when viewing
current education policy function; this controversial trial is necessary to the use of title IX and

the prevention of harassment. Issues of Harassment are at a high scale, and head of the

department of education, Betsy DeVos, recently repealed a ruling against sexual harassment

under title IX. The Davis lawsuit is necessary at a time like this to reform how schools function.

Moreover, high amounts of sexual harassment and the DeVos ruling present how Davis v.

Monroe County Board of Education remains relevant to public education policy and function,

and how it can help in these intense situations.

Firstly, title IX must be defined to contextualize its importance to the case being

examined. Title IX states that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be

excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under

any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance" (Title IX of 20 U.S.C.A

168). Since LaShonda Davis had attended a public school, the usage of title IX is plausible

towards her case. Moreover, why is peer on peer harassment considered a form of sexual

discrimination under title IX? According to Daniel G. McBride, some courts hold that the

discrimination of sexual harassment stems from the sexual intent associated with the harassment

(McBride 540). McBride states any form of sexual harassment is considered sexual

discrimination, violating title IXs policy; whether coming from a peer or a teacher, if it is

present in a federally funded school than it counts against title IXs guidelines. The decision

from Aurelia Davis case should be considered when viewing bullying and harassment in public

schools, to support those in need of justice for the treatment they arent deserving of.

Sexual Harassment is still a problem that must be confronted and handled in a just way;

Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education is necessary in understanding how to regulate

enforcement against the action. Defining sexual Harassment will be necessary to grasp what it is,
and what its like in relation to federally funded education. Monica L. Sherer professes that,

Federal courts recognize two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile

environment (Sherer 2126). Quid Pro quo-harassment is when an authoritative figure provides

recompense in exchange for a favor that sexually exploits a subordinate being a student under a

teacher, or a worker under their boss (Sherer 2126). Hostile environment-harassment is

essentially an environment holding hostility toward members of one sex (Sherer 2126). Peer-

on-peer harassment is a form of hostile environment-harassment the type of harassment that is

most prevalent in school environments, which is why title IX was created. Does the creation of

title IX actually benefit students attending public institutions? In his article Sexual Harassment:

Title VII and Title IX Protections and Prohibitions The Current State of the Law, Richard H.

Heirs inspects and outlines title IX and its relation to educational function. Heirs remarks, In

1997, academic institutions across the nation celebrated twenty-five years of experience under

Title IX (Heirs 398). Academic institutions may believe that title IX might have solved issues

relating to sexual discrimination; however, around that time period was when LaShonda Davis

was sexually harassed. Ever since her case occurred the guidelines under title IX have shifted;

giving a new perspective on sexual discrimination for school officials to look over. Moreover,

schools should not celebrate title IX without truly enforcing it in their schools. Jason Koebler

reports that in the 2010-2011 school year 48% of surveyed middle and high school students said

they were sexually harassed at least once, typically by their peers (Koebler par 1). That

percentage of students surveyed is very large and recent, but harassment can be decreased

through view of the Davis case. Public education administrators should view this percentage of

students who experience sexual harassment in school to understand that there is no reason for

celebration. These institute officials need to view the Davis case to help enforce more rules in the
schools they are in charge of; in order to make their students feel safe, they must review the

lawsuit to create the regulations required to prevent peer sexual harassment. This should be done

not only in middle schools and high schools, but also in collegiate schools.

In recent occurrence, Betsy DeVos had ruled something very controversial; she rescinded

a ruling created by Barack Obama in relation to federally funded institutions (Wallison par 1).

The Obama ruling would strip institutions from receiving federal funding if they violated title

IX, or did not abide by its guidelines (Wallison par 1). To rescind is the action of repealing,

canceling or revoking (Oxford Dictionaries). The removal of Obamas past ruling leaves

institutions free of penalization from sexual harassment occurring in their buildings. Students

who experience sexual harassment will struggle to find a way of defense through the rescinding;

however, they can look to Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education to seek guidance if

trying to file a lawsuit against the school they were harassed in. This would only apply to

students who experienced student-on-student harassment, but it can lead to sanctions against

their schools from not preventing the actions of other students. The DeVos ruling is a

controversial topic that the Davis case can go against in the benefit of students suffering sexual

harassment from their peers.

Whether through school enforcement or federal lawsuit, Davis v. Monroe Board of

Education is vital to the prevention of harassment; it is also in support of any student who wishes

to file a lawsuit against their school but only in relation to harassment. The case still achieves

relevance in current time and should be viewed largely in multiple school community. The Davis

case will help students know what rights they have and can exercise in defense of their case.
Works Cited:

Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Ed. 526 U.S. 629 (1999). Justia Law,
supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/526/629/case.html.

Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education. Oyez.org, www.oyez.org/cases/1998/97-


843.

20 USCA. Sec. 168, Title IX. 1972.

Mcbride, Daniel G. Guidance for Student Peer Sexual Harassment? Not! Stanford Law
Review, vol. 50, no. 2, 1998, p. 523., doi:10.2307/1229295.

Sherer, Monica L. No Longer Just Child's Play: School Liability under Title IX for Peer
Sexual Harassment. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 141, no. 5, 1993,
p. 2119., doi:10.2307/3312583.

Hiers, Richard H. Sexual Harassment: Title VII and Title IX Protections and Prohibitions
The Current State of the Law. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics, vol.
19, 1 Jan. 1999, pp. 391406. JSTOR,
www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/23560094?ref=search-
gateway:9167c1f35ab87f92ff7374eb2f6ccf3f.

Koebler, Jason. Survey: Nearly Half of Students Sexually Harassed in School.


Usnews.com, Usnews, www.usnews.com/education/blogs/high-school-
notes/2011/11/09/survey-nearly-half-of-students-sexually-harassed-in-school.

Wallison, Peter J. Betsy Devos Rescinded Obama's Sexual-Harassment Guidance. Here's


the Backstory. Nationalreview.com, National Review, 5 Oct. 2017,
www.nationalreview.com/article/452296/betsy-devos-sexual-harassment-guidance-
backstory.